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In Bangladesh, religious minorities urge for protection from polls violence

BangladeshIn Bangladesh, religious minorities urge for protection from polls violence

In Bangladesh, Leaders of religious minority communities on Thursday demanded effective security measures for minorities during the pre- and post-polling periods of the national election. According to Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad claim, many of them are passing days amid insecurity surrounding the national election.

The secretary general of Oikya Parishad, Rana Dasgupta said in a statement on Thursday in Dhaka that While electioneering, some candidates make explosive statements and use derogatory language, primarily targeting the minority communities. He said in some areas, religious minorities, particularly the Hindu community, are threatened to visit polling stations and cast votes for a particular symbol or face repercussions.

Rana Dasgupta added that the community feared that if the Election Commission and the security forces do not take immediate strong measures, the level of oppression may escalate on the voting day and following the announcement of election results. He also presented some examples of repression in some constituencies based on information gathered from its central monitoring cell.

Earlier, Okiya Parishad proposed to declare minority-dominated areas as ‘sensitive areas’ during polls and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members patrol sensitive areas from two days before voting day and till 15 days after.

The Oikya Parishad, representing minority voices, also had submitted a memorandum containing their demands to the chief election commissioner of Bangladesh in the month of October..

The Parishad spokesperson said minorities were making these demands as  they faced violence during election time in the past.

The voting for the parliamentary election in Bangladesh will take place this Sunday.

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