Dhaka: At least seven people have been killed in Bangladesh election violence as voters selected village council representatives in elections expected to further consolidate the governing party’s power amid concerns about the state of the country’s democracy. Meanwhile, The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, largest opposition party, boycotted the vote, saying a skewed political atmosphere is preventing fair participation.
Groups used guns and spears to prevent supporters of rivals from reaching the polling booths in a village in Narsingdi district in central Bangladesh, killing three people, said Satyajit Kumar Ghosh, a senior police officer. At least 20 other people were injured in the chaos, he said. Another man died when rival groups clashed in southern Cox’s Bazar district, reports said. Six others were injured in the area, the newspaper said.
Two people were killed in the eastern district of Cumilla and another person died in the southeastern district of Chattogram amid violence that injured many, the Daily Star newspaper reported. Chief Election Commissioner K M Nurul Huda had warned against election violence before vote and said security measures were being taken to respond to any incidents.
Ahead of the vote this month, at least nine people were killed and hundreds were injured in campaign violence. Eighty-five people have been killed and more than 6,000 injured in Bangladesh election-related violence since January, according to a Dhaka-based rights group. More than 15 million eligible voters chose representatives on 835 councils after proceedings in some places were suspended over irregularities or violence.