Election experts for beefing up security of EC ahead of polls
Election experts have underscored the need for increasing security of the Election Commission Bhaban and the polling centres during polls to prevent any act of sabotage, which might mar a free, fair and credible city corporation and the national elections.
The EC has to identify the vulnerable polling stations from different security agencies to look at the reasons behind classifying those as vulnerable, said the former election commissioner Brig Gen (Retd) M Sakhawat Hussain.
Besides, the EC has to prepare an atlas of polling stations so that those can be kept under watch easily during the election time, he added.
The list of risky areas is needed to conduct a transparent national election, he added.
In many cases, centres were changed or relocated or set up afresh under unwarranted influence, which is one of the major obstacles to holding a fair election in the past, he further said.
Meanwhile the EC has sought adequate security from the Inspector General of Police for conducting the national polls and the city corporation elections. A letter to this effect has been sent to the IGP signed by the Deputy Secretary of the EC, Abdul Halim Khan, recently.
The EC has taken the decision considering the personal security of the voters so that no obstacle can hamper conducting an acceptable and transparent national or city corporation polls.
In the letter, emphasis was given to the importance of the CEC and his offices, which are located at Election Commission Bhaban at Agargaon in the city. Moreover, the EC Secretariat and Election Training Institute (ETI) are also located there. Political parties, ministers, parliament members, national and foreign representatives of different organisations frequently visit the Election Commission.
In near future, six city corporation elections and the country's 11th parliamentary elections will be held. The EC is a sensitive institution. According to media reports, some militant groups were planning to attack important establishments in the city.
In this situation, the EC has instructed the law enforcers to beef up the security of the Election Building and the CEC and the Election Commissioners.
A copy of the letter was sent to the Home Ministry's Department of Public Security, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Tejgaon Deputy Commissioner, Traffic North, Sher-e-Bangla Police Station.
According to the Constitution, there is an obligation to complete the 11th parliamentary elections from October 30 of 2018 to January 28 of 2019.
Already, the EC declared the schedule for Rangpur City Corporation election and the EC will hold the city corporation elections of Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, Barisal and Gazipur by June next year.
Talking to the Daily Observer, the Acting Secretary of the EC Helaluddin Ahmed told the EC will utilize all its tools to prevent any unwanted situation for the sake fair polls in the country.
Mere law enforcement agencies are not enough for holding transparent election, the political parties share profound responsibility to create a healthy atmosphere for the election, he added.
Talking on the issue of the election campaign of the political parties, he said, the EC has no role to play in this regard. But the Election Commission will oversee any hindrance to election campaign of any party and intimidation towards voters after the announcement of the election schedule, he said.
"Unless the national parliamentary election is held impartially and independently free from any interference, democracy cannot flourish. In the absence of credible election, a credible parliament cannot be established and for this the EC is determined to conduct fair national polls in the country" Helaluddin added.