Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bravely punish poll offenders

Bravely punish poll offenders

Also be evenhanded in treatment, CEC tells executive magistrates

News Report Be evenhanded in dealing with all candidates in the upcoming election and punish poll offenders bravely, the chief election commissioner told the magistrates deputed on vote duty. "Your duty is to treat all the candidates equally-it's neither less nor more," said KM Nurul Huda in his directive issued Sunday. The CEC was briefing the executive magistrates deployed for election duties in different districts of Sylhet, Chattogram (excepting Cumilla district) and Barishal divisions. Nurul Hunda also asked the magistrates to ensure the safety of presiding officers. "Your duty is to assist them (presiding officers). Never volunteer to guide them. If you do, it will be a mistake," he said about the dos and don'ts. He said the executive magistrates will have to read the electoral code of conduct alongside the penal code thoroughly as they need to take many prompt decisions during the election. "Give such hokum (orders) as cannot be changed with the change of the hakim (judge)," said the commission chief. He also suggested taking police help first, and if needed, deployed army personnel's help in meting out fit penalties to the vote delinquents. Four election commissioners-Mahbub Talukder, Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanom and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury-also spoke on the occasion. On Saturday, the Election Commission started the three-day briefing for the executive magistrates for checking violation of the code of conduct ahead of the upcoming national election slated for December 30. The executive magistrates from different districts of Dhaka and Mymensingh division and Cumilla district attended the first day's briefing. On November 12, the EC directed the Public Administration Ministry to appoint executive magistrates at the field level to check the violation of the electoral code of conduct. One executive magistrate was deployed for every upazila, one for three to four wards of city corporations, one to two magistrates for each district sadar municipality and one magistrate for three to four upazilas of the Chattogram Hill Tracts. The magistrates will discharge the election duty till the next day of polls (Dec 31). The Commission will deploy more executive and judicial magistrates on a large scale a few days before the general election. (Inputs taken from UNB, media reports)

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