A local Jubo Dal leader was killed and another man injured during violence at a polling centre in the district's Ghatail upazila early yesterday, hours before opening of voting in Sagardighi union parishad polls.
The dead, Abdul Malek, aged about 45, was the vice-president of Sagardighi union Jubo Dal, said Farhad Iqbal, general secretary of Tangail BNP.
Witnesses said some locals along with supporters of independent UP chairman aspirant Habibullah Bahar encircled the polling centre at Guptabrindaban Government Primary School around 3:30am after hearing the news that supporters of Awami League candidate Hekmat Shikder, also the incumbent UP chairman, had been stamping ballots there.
As the agitated people started vandalising doors and windows of the school, shots were fired at them from inside, leaving Malek of Gupta Brindaban village dead on the spot.
Residents of Kahalgaon Bazar area in Mymensingh's Fulbaria upazila spotted the Jubo Dal leader's body around 6:00am. The spot was about two kilometres away from the polling centre, witnesses added.
Ghatail police recovered the body from there around noon and sent it to Tangail General Hospital for an autopsy.
One Abdul Jalil, aged about 35, was sent to Mymensingh Medical College Hospital with bullet wounds in his leg.
Agitated people later set fire to some motorcycles of Hekmat's supporters outside the poling centre.
Hekmat, however, claimed that Malek was killed in police firing when he along with others tried to snatch ballots.
Contacted, Presiding Officer Mohammad Salahuddin, also the academic supervisor at Ghatail secondary education office, said about 150 unidentified people stormed the polling centre around 3:30am and started vandalising it.
“At one stage, the situation went out of control and the attackers snatched 800 ballots. Then I asked police to take necessary action,” he told The Daily Star.
Sanjit Kumar Roy, superintendent of Tangail police, said cops fired 12 shots to quell the trouble at the polling centre.
“Police later came to know that a man was killed there. We suspect he might have been killed in the incident. We will investigate the incident properly to ascertain what happened there,” he added.
Following the violence, voting was postponed at the polling centre as per directives of the Election Commission, said Hedayet Ullah, returning officer of Sagardighi union parishad polls and also the upazila engineer in Ghatail.
“I am yet to receive any report from the presiding officer on the incident. Earlier in the morning, he [presiding officer] asked me over the phone to go to the polling centre saying that he was in trouble.”
The ballot boxes and the rest of the ballots of the centre were under police custody, he said.
Law enforcers picked up seven people in connection with the incident.
Presiding Officer Salahuddin yesterday filed a case with Ghatail Police Station in this regard, accusing about 140-150 unidentified people.
Around 2,100 voters were expected to exercise their franchise at Guptabrindaban Government Primary School polling centre. However, voting at eight other polling centres in the union ended peacefully, said election officials.
Eight unions in three upazilas and a municipality of Tangail went to polls yesterday.