Most peaceful polling atmosphere in 47 years: Army chief

Army chief General Aziz Ahmed on Saturday said the election environment in the country ahead of Sunday’s national election is very “calm and peaceful” encouraging voters to cast their votes without any fear.
“To voters, I would say, go and cast your votes without any fear. We’ll try our best so that no one can create anarchy. That will be our aim,” General Aziz said adding that the Army personnel along with other law enforcers will be nearby in a coordinated way.
Talking to reporters in the city, the Army chief said they, in each cantonment, have kept adequate army personnel stand by so that they can go for reinforcement in the shortest possible time if it is required.“We’ve enough forces in cantonments across the country as a reserve force,” he said.Over 50,000 military men have been deployed across the country and are conducting regular patrols to ensure the peaceful atmosphere.
“We haven’t seen such a calm and peaceful [voting] atmosphere in 47 years,” General Aziz told reporters near Azimpur Government Girls School and College in the city a day before the election sharing his experience of visiting various parts of the country in the last 5-7 days.
In the past, he said, there were incidents of violence and this year there are few. “The number of such incidents is very low this time.”General Aziz said the army was reaching out to minorities and assuring them that they can exercise their franchise without any fear.
“We’ve seen from previous experiences that those who lose the election attack minorities. We’ll be very careful about it,” said the army chief.He said they — the Army, Police, BGB, Ansar and civil administration — will work as a team with a single goal so that nobody can create conflicts and trigger fear among voters. “We’ll remain very careful.”
“From today, our responsibility has increased,” the Army chief said adding that they are giving people the confidence with increased army patrolling.“At the end of the day what we want is a good election,” said General Aziz hoping that the election will be held in a friendly atmosphere.
The Army chief said he has already given necessary directives to increase army patrolling in bordering areas so that adequate security is ensured there.He also assured people, including minorities, of their security so that they can go to polling centers and return home safely after the voting.
The Army chief said he visited each division and had meetings with all focusing on overall security measures for Sunday’s election. “As the Army chief I would say a congenial environment prevails…all have assured me that the election will be held in a very congenial environment.”

source: UNB