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Govt fields 400 executive magistrates to operate mobile courts

Mustafizur Rahman

The government has posted 400 senior assistant secretaries as executive magistrates to various constituencies across the country to contain criminal activities during the January 5 national polls.
The public administration ministry asked the officers to report to the district magistrates today (January 2) for performing the election duty in addition to the local strength, according to official orders issued on Tuesday.
The public administration ministry has authorised the BCS (administration)
cadre officials to operate mobile courts to ‘prevent violation of election conduct rules’ and ‘maintain overall law and order’ from January 3 to January 6, 2014.
‘Two executive magistrates would be appointed locally in each constituency. In addition, we have appointed 400 officials as executive magistrates to maintain overall law
and order during the elections,’ senior secretary to the public administration ministry Abdus Sobhan Sikder told New Age on Wednesday.
He said that each magistrate would be able to operate mobile courts to contain criminal acts and therefore help the authorities hold a peaceful election across the country.
The authorities are set to hold the national polls amidst violent protests across the country by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance against the polls in which 153 aspirants, mostly from ruling Awami League, out of 300 seats were already elected unopposed, according to officials.  
Senior officials at the home ministry and the public administration ministry said that many desks in the ministries went vacant as a large number of these officers left Dhaka for election duty on Wednesday.
But these officers left for the field-level election duty with ‘a sense of insecurity’ amid a fresh spell of rail-road-waterways blockade launched by the opposition for an indefinite period to press for a non-party election-time administration for a free and fair election, a senior officer said requesting anonimity. 
Meanwhile, the government has declared January 5 (Sunday) a public holiday for all government, semi-government and autonomous organisations and private offices in 59 out of 64 districts, according to another order.
The five districts—Joypurhat, Rajbari, Madaripur, Shariatpur and Chandpur—have been kept out of the holiday as the candidates in all the seats in those districts were elected unopposed, according to the Election Commission.
Many officials have expressed fear that violence might flare up over the elections boycotted by the main opposition BNP and its allies.
Over 100 people were killed and thousands injured so far in political violence that erupted immediately after the announcement of the 10th parliamentary election schedule on November 25. 

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