Bangladesh deploys troops for parliamentary poll

Dhaka, Dec 27: Tens of thousands of Bangladeshi troops have been deployed across the country ahead of parliamentary poll slated for Jan 5 next year amid boycott by the main opposition alliance.

Bangladeshi Election Commission has announced to deploy troops for 15 days from Dec 26 as part of tightened security measures, Xinhua quoted Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad as saying.

“Bangladesh army personnel will be deployed across the country to maintain order during the elections,” Ahmad said.

He added that some places with worsened law and order situation are likely to see army deployment for a longer period.

“Around 50,000 troops are being deployed across Bangladesh. The army personnel will work as a striking force if violence erupts in a place,” an Election Commission official said.

He said they (troops) would also patrol important places, streets and highways as per decision of the Election Commission.

Widespread violence has erupted since the main opposition alliance decided to boycott the general elections last month unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina brought back a non-party caretaker system to ensure a free and fair election.

Former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies enforced blockade of highway and railway after the Election Commission announced Nov 25 the schedule for the 10th parliamentary poll. Scores of people, including ruling and opposition party supporters, have been killed and hundreds of others injured in widespread violence since Nov 26.

IANS