Prevent violence: Awami League requests poll panel

Dhaka, Jan 5 (IANS) Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party has requested the Election Commission to take steps to stop the countrywide violence in the on-going 10th parliamentary elections Sunday.

The party’s election coordination committee’s convener Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir filed a written petition to the Election Commission Sunday with the request, bdnews24.com reported.
“We have requested for proper action to stop the violence in polling centres. We have filed an application on behalf of the party to the EC,” Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said after meeting Election Commissioner Md. Shahnewaz.
He said voter turnout was low in the morning due to cold weather, but it is increasing as the day progresses.
The Awami League leader said the opposition’s strike has not affected the polls.
At least eight people, including an election officer, were killed in poll-related violence Sunday.
Meanwhile, at least five people, including a security man, were injured in explosions Sunday outside two polling stations in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.
Mired in controversy, the parliamentary elections are being held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. As many as 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid a boycott by the main opposition party and its allies.
Some 21 parties, including former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), are boycotting the elections over Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the elections.
Opposition activists have unleashed a campaign of violence, burning down dozens of polling stations, attacking polling parties and public transport to cause panic since Friday night.