Union Parishad (UP) elections are underway in various phases across the country. The Awami League versus Awami League rivalry has intensified, marking these elections with violence. In many places, including the BNP, are also joining the elections independently. Jamaat-e-Islami is providing support from behind the scenes. As a result, instead of celebrations, these UP elections are witnessing a grim atmosphere. The heart-wrenching scenes of people losing their loved ones and homes are creating unbearable sorrow.
Since the beginning of this year until now, at least 86 lives have been lost due to violence in UP elections, as reported by the Human Rights organization, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK). Additionally, in the past month alone, 47 lives have been lost due to election-related violence, according to the Manab Adhikar Sangskriti Forum (MASF). ASK sources reveal that the majority of the deceased are affiliated with the ruling Awami League, including leaders and workers.
According to ASK, between January and November, a total of 688 incidents of election violence occurred in various regions of the country. Out of these, 594 people were injured, and 129 lost their lives. Among the deceased, 57 were from the Awami League alone. Election-related violence is mainly concentrated in UP elections, where 442 incidents have taken place. In these incidents, 5,234 people were injured, and 86 lost their lives. ASK, along with law enforcement agencies from various districts, has discovered that most of the deceased were Awami League supporters.
Violence in the Third phase
The third phase of local elections took place in Bangladesh on November 28th, with voting held in 986 union parishads. In the lead-up to and following these elections, incidents of violence have been reported in various parts of the country, resulting in at least 15 fatalities and over a hundred injuries.
On November 26th, violence erupted during the election campaign in Bhola's Sadar Upazila. Mohammad Khurshed Alam Titu, a 32-year-old leader of the ruling Awami League's youth wing (Bangladesh Awami Jubo League), was killed in a shootout involving political rivals. Khurshed was the son of Tazir Ahmed, a member of Dhanija Union in the upazila, and he was an active organizer in the local Jubo League.
In Pirojpur, violence marred the elections on November 16th, resulting in the death of Faisal Mahbub, a youth leader of the Awami League. On November 7th, during the election campaign in Shankarpasha Union, he was injured in an attack and was in critical condition at the hospital. Faisal was a former president of the district unit of the Jubo League and a vice-president of the government-owned Shorawardi College's student parliament (VP).
In Ramganj Upazila of Lakshmipur district, violence erupted between supporters of two chairman candidates during the union parishad elections. Sajib Hossen, the president of the union's Chandonnagor word Awami League, was killed during the clashes. He was initially injured at the polling center and later succumbed to his injuries while being transported to Dhaka.
On November 26th, Tangail witnessed violence between rival factions of the Awami League during the third phase of elections. Tota Sheikh, a 40-year-old president of the Awami League in one of the words, was killed in an armed attack. Tota Sheikh was the son of Akkel Member, the president of the Awwami League in a union in the upazila.
In Brahmanbaria's Nabinagar, an independent candidate's supporters clashed violently on February 2nd during the election campaign. In the midst of the conflict, a supporter of independent candidate Golam Mostafa Maruf, named Masud Mia, was seriously injured with sharp weapons. He was subsequently taken to Dhaka for treatment but succumbed to his injuries there.
Prior to the elections on November 26th, in Angaria Union of Sherpur Sadar Upazila, supporters of the Awami League candidate for chairman Abdul Razzaq Molla attacked and killed Abdul Rajjak. This incident occurred as the results were being announced. Abdul Rajjak was a supporter of the rival candidate Anarasa Pratik.
During the third phase of elections, Babul Sikder, a 38-year-old supporter of the Awami League-backed chairman candidate Md. Mohsin, was killed in Khulna. Babul was assaulted with sticks and sharp weapons during the election campaign. After his condition deteriorated, he was transported to Dhaka, where he succumbed to his injuries.
In Cox's Bazar's Chakaria Upazila, supporters of Nurul Haque Arefin, the newly elected chairman of the union, attacked Gias Uddin Mintu, leaving him dead after the election results were announced. Gias Uddin was the rival candidate in the election. This incident occurred after the election results were declared.
On the night before the election in Jessore, a clash occurred in Sharsahar Koyra Union between supporters of two chairman candidates. In the violence, Kutub Uddin (30) was killed. He was known to be a supporter of the ruling Awami League.
Before the violence on November 24th in Narsingdi's Raipura, four people were killed in Narsingdi. These four individuals were Aditya Kumar Ray (23), the son of Avinash Ray from Ghidob Gram; Rahima Begum (64), the wife of Abdul Bari; Mokhles Uddin (36), the son of Habibpur Gram; and Mozaharul Islam (37), the son of the late Tamij Uddin. They were all associated with the Awami League, as per reports.
In Kurigram, violence erupted during the local union parishad election in Fulbari Upazila on November 24th, leading to the death of Babul Mia (40) among the supporters of the candidate.
After the announcement of the UP election results in Munshiganj's Sadar Upazila, a separate incident of violence has resulted in the deaths of two individuals and injuries to several others. The deceased have been identified as Riazul Sheikh (70) and Osakil (17), with Riazul hailing from Muktarpur Gosaibag. Osakil, who tragically lost his life, was the son of Mohammad Harun Mollah from Sharitpur. Notably, Riazul's brother, Mohammad Ali Siddique, contested the UP election as a Chairman candidate with the telephone symbol as his party representation.
In another incident, during the UP elections in Kuliarchar Upazila, Kishoreganj, a clash between supporters of Awami League candidate Mohammad Enamul Haque and rebel candidate Saiful Islam resulted in the fatal shooting of Delwar Hossain (38), who was known as a supporter of Saiful Islam, the rebel candidate.
Furthermore, in Sirajganj's Solonga, a school student named Delwar Hossain Sagar (16) lost his life due to election-related violence. In Pirganj, Thakurgaon, four individuals were killed in gunfire by law enforcement personnel. The deceased were identified as Aditya Kumar Roy (23), the son of Abinash Roy from Ghidob Gram, Rahima Begum (64), the wife of Abdul Bari, Sahabul (36), the son of Tofazzal Hossen from Habibpur Gram, and Mojaharul Islam (37), the deceased son of Tamij Uddin from Chhit Ghidob Gram.
Violence in the Second Phase
The second phase of elections took place on November 11th. In the second phase, 11 people have died due to violence in the elections to 835 Union Parishads. Among these deaths, seven occurred on the day of voting itself. Among them, seven people were killed in Narayanganj, two in Cumilla, and one each in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong. In the days following the election, three more people were killed in Dhamrai and Rajbari. Among them, two were killed in Dhamrai and one in Rajbari.
The highest number of deaths in the second phase occurred in Narsingdi. 9 people were killed in Sadar and Raipura upazilas due to violence on both sides of Awami League. Among them, 6 people were killed before the election and 3 more people were killed in the violence on the day of the election. All of them were shot dead. Four people were killed and at least 30 injured in a clash between two groups of Awami League in Alokbali Union of Sadar Upazila of Narsingdi on the second phase of elections on November 4. The deceased are Amir Hossain (45), son of Katumia of Nekjanpur village, Ashraful (22), son of Abdul Jalil of the same village, Khushi Begum (50), daughter of Abdul Manu Mia, and one other person. According to local sources, the three deceased are the current chairman of Alokbali Union. Worker-supporter of Delwar Hossain. The current chairman Delwar Hossain's conflict with the opposition union Awami League's general secretary Asadullah has been going on for a long time. Soon after, the supporters of both sides clashed with tentacles and indigenous weapons.
Earlier on October 28 in Raipura, Narsingdi, three people died in a clash between the supporters of ruling Awami League's boat symbol candidate Ashraful Haque and supporters of Awami League leader Zakir Hossain, who ran as an independent candidate without getting the party nomination. The deceased are Dulal Mia (45), Salauddin (41) and Jahangir Mia (26) of Banshgari area. They are all workers of Awami League. On the same day, two people named Sadir Mia and Hiran were shot dead in a clash between two groups of Awami League in Kacharikandi village.
On November 8th, in Meherpur's Gangni upazila, two brothers, Jaharul Islam (54) and Sahadul Islam (51), were killed in a clash between supporters of the Awami League and independent candidates in the Laxminarayanpur Dholagram area. Jaharul and Sahadul both are cousin of independent candidate Azmar Hossain Tutul. It is known that both of them were supporters of the ruling Awami League.
On November 26th, in Bhola district's Sadar upazila, during post-election violence, a young Awami League leader named Mr. Khurshed Alam Titu (32) was shot and killed by militants. The deceased, Khurshed, was the son of Tazhir Ahmed from the village of Kanaingar in Ward 4 of Dhaniya Union. He was also an active member of the Awami League.
On November 11th, in Rajbari Sadar upazila, an Awami League leader and former chairman Abdul Latif was shot and killed in front of his house by unknown assailants.
On November 5th, during the night, two candidates for Union Parishad elections in Cox's Bazar's Jhilongja Union were shot by unidentified individuals. Candidate Kudrat Ullah Sikder and his brother Jahirul Islam Sikder succumbed to their injuries. Jahirul Islam Sikder was the president of the district labor league.
On November 9th, during the Union Parishad election in Pabna's Sujangar upazila, a person named Sabuj Hossen (28) was killed in an attack by the opposition. Sabuj Hossen, the son of Hachen Ali from Cholna village in Sujangar, was a supporter of independent candidate Omar Faruk, who was contesting in the election. On Monday night, there was a clash between the supporters of Awami League-nominated candidate Amin Uddin and the workers-supporters of independent candidate Omar Faruk in Bhayna Union. Sabuj was first injured in the clash and later succumbed to his injuries.
On October 23rd, in Sharsha, Jessore, during the Union Parishad election, Awami League leader Ali Hossen was injured in party-related violence, and later he passed away. He fought for 18 days with injuries and finally succumbed. Ali Hossen, was a supporter of the independent Union Parishad Chairman candidate Tabibur Rahman.
Focusing on the second phase of elections, on October 23rd, during the Union Parishad election in Sylhet Sadar upazila's Jalalabad Union, Awami League Chairman candidate's supporter Alauddin, known as Alal (45), was attacked with local weapons and killed. He was attacked with a machete and suffered head injuries, which proved fatal. The deceased, Alal, was a supporter of Awami League Chairman candidate Obayed Ullah Issac.
In the second phase of elections in Comilla, there has been violence in the Meghna Upazila, particularly in the Bahurkhola Union. Sanaullah Dali (60), the son of Mudafar Ali from Hirarchar village in Meghna Upazila, and Shaon Ahmed (25), the son of Mobarak Hossain from Ballaberkandi village in Manikchar Union, were killed. There was a clash between the supporters of Jakir Hossen, an Awami League-backed chairman candidate, and Harun ar Rashid, an independent candidate, centered around the polling centers at Adhipati Bistarok in the Bahurkhola Union and Khilarchar Government Primary School in the Manikchar Union. It has been reported that they were supporters of Harun ar Rashid.
In the Khurushkul Union Parishad election in Cox's Bazar Sadar Upazila, there has been a fatality in a clash between the supporters of two candidate contestants. Anowara Begum, a common member candidate, and Akhtarujjaman Putu (32), a worker-supporter of Abu Bakar Siddik, were killed in the clash. Both candidates are said to be involved in Awami League politics. Additionally, in Fotikchhari, Chattogram, in another election-related incident, Mohammad Shafi (55) was killed in a clash between the supporters of two candidates, Mahbub and Forkan.
On October 23rd, in Khordia Gram of Saaltha Jadunandi Union in Faridpur, there was a confrontation between supporters of Awami League and independent candidates. Marij Sikdar (30) was killed in the clash. Marij Sikdar was a supporter of the rebel candidate of Awami League, Mohammad Rafiq Mollah. On the next day, in the Jalalabad election in Sylhet Sadar Upazila, Awami League-backed chairman candidate Alauddin alias Alal (45) was killed.
On October 17th in Kaptai Upazila of Rangamati, a contestant in the boat symbol, Nethoai Marma, was killed in her own home when armed miscreants attacked her.
On October 15th, in Ward No. 3 of Jagadal Union in Magura Sadar Upazila, there was a clash between the supporters of UP members' candidates Nazrul Islam and Saiyed Hasan Ali, leading to the deaths of four individuals. These included Subur Molla, Kabir Molla (his own brother), Rahman Molla (paternal uncle), and Imran Hossain from the opposing side. All of them were associated with Awami League politics, although they did not hold any official positions within the party, according to local leaders and activists.
Violence in the First Phase
In the first phase, elections were held for 204 UPs on June 21st and 160 UPs on September 20th. Even in the first phase, the Election Commission could not prevent violence. There have been reports of three deaths and many injuries in this election.
In the first phase of voting, violence occurred in Kutubdia, Cox's Bazar, on September 20th. Abdul Halim (35), a leader of the Awami League, was killed in the afternoon. He was the general secretary of the Awami League in Ward 7 of Borghop Union. Violence erupted at the Kotakata Government Primary School polling center in Borghop Union during the voting process.
On September 20th, in Maheshkhali, Cox's Bazar, violence broke out at a polling center in Kutubjom Union. A supporter of boat symbol candidate Sheikh Kamal and a rebel candidate supporter, Mosarraf Hossen Khokon, were killed in the clash. Khokon was a supporter of Sheikh Kamal, the chairman candidate of the boat symbol. Prior to this, on June 23rd, in Shibchar, Madaripur, a labor leader of the Workers League, Abu Bakkar, was killed in a knife attack centered around the desire for votes by the opposition.
On the same day, in Kathalia, Jhalokathi, during the Upazila Parishad elections, a clash occurred between supporters of winning and losing candidates, resulting in the death of a college student and injuries to at least 15 people. Six months ago, in Raypur Union, Narshingdi, Yasin and Shahin were killed in election-related violence.
On the night before the Upazila Parishad election in Shibchar, Madaripur, on June 22nd, labor leader Abu Bakar Fakir (46) was initially injured and later killed in a stabbing incident involving opposition supporters. He was a supporter of winning candidate Azizul Sardar.
At the beginning of the year on January 18th, in Mehendiganj, Barishal, violence occurred during the elections, leading to the death of Word Awami League's Vice Chairman Afsar Sikder, who was a resident of Ward 8 in the municipality. He was a motorcycle garage owner by profession.
Additionally, one person was killed in Faridpur and Sylhet. There have been clashes among supporters of rival groups in several Upazilas, resulting in injuries to several individuals.
Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, the secretary of SHUJAN: Citizens for Good Governance, stated that the Election Commission is primarily responsible for preventing such conflicts and violence. He raised questions about the effectiveness of the Election Commission in such situations. If they fail in their responsibilities, what will the citizens do? He mentioned that he heard from an Election Commission official that they are not responsible for these matters. Such violence often occurs in rural areas, and law enforcement agencies are sometimes unable to control it. Therefore, it can be said that they are not fulfilling their responsibilities. If they did, we would see measures being taken. Where there is secrecy and violence, we used to see elections being postponed, and punitive measures taken against those responsible. But we don't see that now. Even if political parties are responsible, measures can be taken against them, but that is also not happening, he added.