Nearly 14 polling centres, 2 schools torched in B’desh ahead of polls

DHAKA: At least 14 polling centres and two schools in 10 districts of Bangladesh were set on fire between Friday evening and early Saturday hours before general elections, as reported by the Dhaka Tribune.
Earlier on Saturday, miscreants torched a polling centre in Lalmonirhat’s Hatibandha upazila.
The centre, Sheikh Sundar Masterpara Primary School, was set on fire around 10 pm on Saturday.
Moreover, five people were arrested after a centre was torched in Mymensingh on Saturday.
However, no casualties were reported from the latest arson attacks, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
Previously, at least five schools, which were supposed to be used as polling centres on Sunday, were set afire in Feni and Rajshahi in separate incidents from Thursday night to Friday morning.
In Moulvibazar, the Sabia Government Primary School of Chandighat Union in Sadar upazila was set on fire by arsonists at around 8 pm on Friday. The school was also a polling centre for the Moulvibazar-3 constituency.
The school’s managing committee president, Abdur Goffer Bablu, said that the doors of three rooms were gutted in the fire set by four arsonists, according to Dhaka Tribune.
In Habiganj, some miscreants set fire to the Dhalaipar Government Primary School centre in Chunarughat Upazila at around 12:15 am on Saturday.
Additionally, Chunarughat Upazila Nirbahi Officer Neelima Raihana said that no electoral material or equipment was damaged as the fire could not reach it.
In the Gazipur district of Bangladesh, two polling centres were set on fire by unidentified arsonists in different parts of the district on Saturday.
Kaliakair Upazila Nirbahi Officer and assistant returning officer Hossain Mohammad Hye said miscreants set fire to the office room of Bashtoli Government Primary School in Kaliakair Upazila early in the morning.
Meanwhile, a group of miscreants set fire to East Chandana Government Primary School in the Bason area of Gazipur city at around 1:30 am, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Miscreants also set fire to TNT Ideal High School at Telipara in the city early Saturday; however, it was not a polling centre, said Abdullah Al Arefin, deputy assistant director of Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defence.
Moreover, in Chittagong, miscreants set fire to three polling stations in the Khulshi and Bandar areas early Saturday.
The centres that were set ablaze are Nishchinta Para Government Primary School, Mohius Sunnah Madrasa in the Bandar area and UCEP School (Dabba School) in Khulshi.
Reportedly, Md Shamim, senior station officer of Bandar Fire Service Station, said that two firefighting units were engaged in dousing the flames at the spots after being informed about the incidents at around 5 am.
In the Nishchinta centre under Chittagong-11 constituency, the fire originated in the headmaster’s room of the school, and valuables, including books, were burned, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
However, the extent of the damage caused by the fire in the Khulshi school could not be ascertained immediately.
In Mymensingh, miscreants set fire to two polling stations in Nandail and Gafargaon upazilas of the district early Saturday.
Bangladesh is set to hold elections on January 7. On Thursday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged people to exercise their voting rights in Sunday’s election to prove that democracy prevails in Bangladesh.
However, hartals and protests continue ahead of the general elections. The main opposition party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), issued a call for a 48-hour nationwide ‘hartal’ (general strike) commencing on Saturday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “illegal government”.
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