DHAKA: Bangladesh has deployed thousands of soldiers across the country on Monday, five days ahead of the national polls amid violence since the election campaign began earlier this month.
Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR), Banglasdeshi army’s mouthpiece, confirmed in a statement issued Sunday night that the troops will be deployed in 46 of the 64 districts until Jan. 2.
The navy will watch over the remaining 18 coastal districts, while the paramilitary border guard will help civil administration in 87 bordering areas, or sub-districts, the ISPR said.
Military helicopters and transport aircrafts are also ready to use if needed, it added.
Rashadul Alam Khan, ISPR assistant director, told the Anadolu Agency that as per decision army members are now in the field and performing their duties accordingly.
Kamal Hossain, head of the main opposition alliance, said he is “hopeful” in developing a congenial electoral environment by the deployment of the army.
“We hope that the armed forces will not stand against the interest of the people,” Hossain said in a statement on Sunday. “I think the army deployment can mitigate the fearsome situation among the people” which has been prevailing since the beginning of election campaign earlier this month, Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of Dhaka-based good governance watchdog Shujan, told Anadolu Agency. He also stressed the military should work to ensure a safe and non-violent atmosphere for a free and fair election.
The 11th national election of the south Asian state will be held on Dec. 30 under ruling Awami League (AL) despite the repeated demand for an election-time neutral government by the opposition parties.
The electoral fate of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Begum Khaleda Zia is also at the hands of the country’s highest court as she is behind bars over charges of two graft cases.
Speaking on live television Sunday, BNP spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi claimed that at least 7,000 party supporters along with dozens of officials of the opposition were arrested between Dec. 10-19.
Rizvi added, “More than 100,000 political cases have been filed or activated during this time against opposition men.”
Local media reports continuous attacks on the opposition campaign as several candidates of the opposite alliance were reportedly hospitalized after being attacked by the ruling party members and supporters.
The ruling party campaigners and supporters are also facing resistance in different areas. (AA)