Dhaka, Bangladesh
Army can make arrest thru magistrates

Attack on Kamal a criminal offence'

Army can make arrest thru magistrates

CEC says in latest poll rulings

News Report Army can make arrest in case of election trouble, the Election Commission said Saturday while spelling out some specific rules for polling discipline. Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, flanked by three other election commissioners, also had some strongly worded remarks against pre-poll violence, including Friday's attack on main opposition coalition-chief Dr Kamal Hossain that he termed a 'criminal offence'. The EC appears to have somewhat relaxed directives guiding the media and election observers during the covering and monitoring of voting at polling booths. About authority of the armed forces to be deployed in the election, Nurul Huda said the army can arrest troublemakers as per the law in case the situation takes a turn for the worse. "Yes, they can make arrest. The power is bestowed upon them. If there's a magistrate and situation turns worse, they can do so as per the law (the Criminal Code of Procedure 1898)," the chief of the election commission said in response to a query. The BNP-dominated Jatiya Okiya Front and some other parties have demanded troop deployment with magistracy power to ensure a free, fair and peaceful election, being held under the party government in power and parliament in existence in what they call an uneven playing field. About the attack on Jatiya Okiya Front leader Dr Kamal Hossain's motorcade the CEC said, "It's an unfortunate incident. He's a senior citizen and famous person. Any attack on him is never expected." In reply to a question at a press conference at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city, Nurul Huda further said: "It's a criminal offence in the eye of law. Measures will be taken in this regard according to the law." The CEC said the Commission will send their allegation, submitted over the incident, to the election enquiry committee to look into the matter. He said the EC will take measures after receiving report from the enquiry committee. Dr Kamal Hossain's motorcade came under attack allegedly by some ruling- party activists near the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur on Friday morning while returning after paying tributes to the martyred intellectuals. At least 10 people were injured. However, Dr Kamal, also the chief of Gano Forum that is a component of the Jatiya Oikya Front, was unhurt. About the polling-booth rules he said journalists cannot go for live telecast and telephonic conversations from inside a booth during voting in the upcoming general election, set for December 30. "No live telecast will be allowed from rooms (booths), but journalists can do so from the premises of a polling station," he told the press. The CEC also said journalists can use mobile phones to take photographs inside polling booths except the secret place of casting ballot. He said a number of journalists will not be allowed in a polling booth at a time as it will create hindrance to the activities of polling officials as well as voters. The Presiding Officer of a centre will determine how many reporters can enter a polling booth at a time considering its space, Nurul Huda said. He said the Commission is yet to take any decision on two proposals placed by law-enforcement agencies before the EC to stop mobile banking and slow down the mobile internet speed to 2G from 4G for a certain time during the balloting. In reply to a query, the CEC said a level playing field has been created for the 11th parliamentary elections by virtue of participation by all political parties. "I think a level playing field has been ensured as candidates can carry out electioneering. They face no obstruction in conducting the campaign," he said. Three election commissioners-Mahbub Talukder, Kabita Khanom and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury-and EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed were present at the press conference. Inputs taken from UNB, media reports

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