Army deployment on election duty completed
The mammoth deployment of soldiers across the country was completed on Monday morning to help the Election Commission and civil administration ensure the law and order before, during and after the general election billed for December 30.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda hoped that voters will get back their confidence with the deployment of army while Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader said Army took positions in districts to discharge their duties for the sake of a free and fair election.
Jatiya Oikyafront Chief Dr Kamal Hossain said army has been entrusted with a tough task to create an atmosphere for a free, fair, credible and inclusive election, and hoped that they will uphold their neutrality.
The deployment of members of Bangladesh Army in 389 upazila and Bangladesh Navy men in 18 coastal upazilas concluded by 8am, said military intelligence sources.
Besides, Border Guard Bangladesh members were deployed in 87 bordering upazilas alongside other designated areas.
Posted in the field ‘in aid to civil power’, the Armed Forces members are staying at nodal points and other convenient points in every district/upazila/metropolitan area and will conduct patrolling and other operational activities in coordination with returning officers concerned if necessary.
Besides, Bangladesh Air Force has kept adequate helicopters and transport aircraft ready in case of any emergency strikes.
The Armed Forces members, who will be in field for 10 days till January 2, will also work to ensure security on important roads and highways considering the situation if necessary or upon directive.
According to reports reaching the UNB desk from different districts, army members started patrolling across the country.
UNB Narayanganj correspondent reports: Members of joint forces, including army men, patrolled Chashara area in the city in the afternoon following a meeting with the Retuning Officer at the Deputy Commissioner’s office at noon.
Addressing the meeting, Brig Gen Rakib of Bangladesh Army said their aim is to help hold a free, fair, peaceful and neutral election. “We’re committed to fulfilling the nation’s expectations.”
In Chaattogram, army was deployed in 15 constituencies while naval force in one constituency since early Monday.
In Sylhet, a total of 700 army members were deployed in the city and 13 upazilas, said Deputy Commissioner and returning officer M Kazi Emdadul Islam.
In Pirojpur, some 300 army members were deployed in the three electoral areas.
In Bagerhat, 431 army members were posted in four constituencies, and they started patrolling there.
Meanwhile, Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Directorate urged all to remain aware of false information and propaganda about Bangladesh Army and its different organisations through fake websites, Facebook accounts and YouTube channels ahead of the national election.
It said an evil move is on to tarnish Army’s image through spreading false information and propaganda about the force and organisations under it through fake websites, Facebook accounts and YouTube channels ahead of the national election.
The ISPR also urged all not to share any post over army with false information.
Meanwhile, CEC KM Nurul Huda said, "I think people will get back their confidence through army deployment. The main aim of army deployment is to boost the confidence of people.”
While visiting an EVM training workshop at Dhaka Residential Model School and College, he also said the presence of army will help the EC hold a fair election. "I believe any unexpected situation can be reined in from now on."
Mentioning that army can do everything whatever necessary to maintain the law and order, Nurul Huda said, "If any situation is created in front of the army which needs to be dealt with the army can do that at their own initiative. They (Army) will perform duty following the 'In Aid to Civil Power Act'."
At a press conference at its Purana Paltan Office, Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain expressed the hope that the patriotic army will stand by the nation at this moment to help hold a fair and credible election.
He, however, said some incidents of obstructions to and attacks on opposition candidates and their supporters today after the deployment of army are totally unexpected.
Dr Kamal said the nation expects the role of army in creating a congenial atmosphere for holding a free, fair, neutral and participatory election.
While addressing an election rally of the AL-led Grand Alliance candidate Lt Gen (retd) Masud Uddin Chowdhury (Plough) at Ataturk High School ground in Feni’s Daganbhuiyan upazila, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader there is nothing to be delighted at the deployment of army ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections as the armed forces members do not belong to any party or alliance.
“Army has taken positions in districts to discharge their duties for the sake of a free and fair election. A quarter is much delighted with the army deployment. But they should keep in mind that they won’t work for any particular party. Their role will be neutral,” he said.