Probable polling officers panic as police gathering political links

Staff CorrespondentAhammad Foyez | Published: 00:00, Nov 18,2018 | Updated: 00:07, Nov 18,2018

 
 

Those tipped to be presiding and assistant presiding officers are in panic after the police and the intelligence agencies began collecting information relating to their own and their family members’ political background.
They said that they did not face such ‘police verifications’ in the past when they performed polls duty in general election or local government polls.
The Election Commission, however, said that it gave no instruction to the law enforcement agencies to collect information about political links of the officers, teachers and bankers tipped to be presiding officers and assistant presiding officers.
Election commissioner Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury told New Age that the matter would be discussed at today’s EC meeting.
According to the electoral law, the returning officers are recruiting presiding officers and assistant presiding officers from different government, semi-government and autonomous organizations as well as schools and banks.
EC officials said that its district and upazila level officers already prepared lists of officers serving government, semi-government and autonomous organizations and the teachers for election duties.
The lists have sent to the returning officers as they would recruit the presiding officers and the assistant presiding officers.
A Sonali Bank senior officer posted in Comilla told New Age that a police personnel visit her village home in Chandpur to know her and her family members political backgrounds.
She said that her colleagues also narrated the same experience.
A high school teacher from Lakshmipur said that he never experienced such ‘police verification’ though performed election duty since 1990.
He said that his colleagues also received phone calls from different law enforcement agencies.
A female school teacher from Bagerhat said that a police officer visited her home though she asked him not to come as she was alone at her house.
She said that the police men asked her to come to the verandah to tell him about the political backgrounds of herself and her family members.
About the matter, assistant inspector general of police Sohel Rana told New Age that it’s an allegation against police since it was not clear who were gathering such information.
He said that the police department would take action against the people doing it without instruction from the EC.
At Friday’s meeting between newspaper editors and Jatiya Oikya Front leaders, a JOF leader informed the journalists that police collecting information of polling officers illegally.
New Age correspondent in Jashore reported that teachers of schools, colleges and madrassahs tipped for pols duties were being quizzed about their political backgrounds by the police.
A schoolteacher in Monirampur upazila said that he was asked about his political background over his mobile phone by a policeman of the local police station.
Many other teachers narrated similar stories.
When asked, Salah Uddin Sikder, additional superintendent of police, told New Age that he knew nothing about this as he was ill.
EC officials said that the returning officer would soon recruit a presiding officer for each polling stations and the needed number of assistant presiding officers.
The EC is set to open 40,199 polling stations and 2,06,540 booths for the general election scheduled for December 30.

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