The government is preparing five lakh members of Ansar and Village Defence Party alongside over 2,50,000 members of police and Border Guard Bangladesh, among other forces, for the election duty to maintain the law and order.
‘Ansars authorities have 60 lakh trained Ansars but for the election duty, it will not require all of them. A force of five lakh members is being prepared and many of them have already been prepared through training and other necessary arrangement,’ home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told New Age on Sunday.
In September 2018, the cabinet committee on national purchase approved procurement of 30,000 shotguns and 30 lakh cartridges on emergency basis for Ansar and Village Defence Party ahead of the national polls.
An official involved in the process of Ansars procurement said that the procurement was completed.
Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory Ltd, a state-owned limited company under the management of Bangladesh Army, was supplying the arms and ammunitions at a cost Tk 147 crore.
According to the proposal of the public security division, Ansars play vital role in maintaining law and order and election duty.
Police headquarters officials said that they had 1.85 lakh members with 10,000 fresh constables completing 6-month training in November.
The police restricted leaves of its members ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections scheduled for December 30.
The police procured 10,000 sound grenades and 6,000 pieces of 38mm tear gas gun while another 10,000 flash bang, considered as a non-lethal explosive device used to temporarily disorient enemy’s sense.
The police procured 20 lakh 7.62x25mm cartridge mainly used for small firearms, while 10 lakh cartridge for 12-bore shotguns (rubber ball) and 5 lakh cartridge for 12-bore shotguns (lead ball).
The police procured 22 lakh pieces of 9x19mm cartridges and also 15 unit of the crew-served machine gun.
Earlier this year, the police procured 23,500 bulletproof jackets, including 2,000 for women.
Police headquarters assistant inspector general (arms and ammunition) MA Jalil said they bought the ammunition in phases.
Police headquarters assistant inspector general (media and public relations) Shohel Rana said that apart from the election duties the police also needed to procure arms and ammunitions for their duties in UN peace keeping operations.
At a military ceremony in Savar Cantonment, army chief General Aziz Ahmed on Sunday urged the officers and soldiers to continue with the development activities in every sectors including education.
The army chief also asked all of the army to discharge their duty professionally for peaceful polls if they were engaged in election duty.
The border guards have over 50,000 members including army officers on deputation.
The border guard director general Shafeenul Islam at a press conference at the forces headquarters in September said that they had finalised plans ahead of the next general election and sought cooperation from both border forces of India and Myanmar to keep the borders protected, safe and normal during the elections.
‘To be able to deploy as much manpower as possible during the national polls, we will keep all the training processes shut. Officials will be hardly allowed to take leave and all the other workloads will be minimised,’ he had said.
Asked about the engagement of the law enforcing and security agencies in the elections, the home minister said that the Election Commission was the sole authority in this regard and the ministry haad nothing to do with it.
‘The Election Commission will manage the security forces the way it wants. The security forces are ready to provide necessary support,’ he said.
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