Participation and Inclusion Why Young, Women & Minority Should Vote In General Elections

Ambiguous instructions about the responsibilities for army, a panicky situation for the voters, the serious deficiencies in the election atmosphere, and the EC’s failure to take action against the perpetrators were the major observations that came from a seminar on “Participation and Inclusion Why Young, Women & Minority Should Vote in General Elections”. The seminar was held on 26 December 2018 and it was organized by Centre for Governance Studies(CGS) at the auditorium of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies(BIISS). Political scientist Prof Dr. Rounaq Jahan attended the seminar as the guest of honour. The seminar was chaired by Prof Dr. M Ataur Rahman, CGS Chairman, and CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman moderated it. Ejaj Ahmad, President, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center(BYLC), presented the keynote and quoted that around 11.30 million Hindus left the country due to religious persecution and discrimination between 1964 and 2013. The seminar was attended by Academicians, Politicians, Researchers, Security and Defense Analyst, Retired Military Personnel, Civil Society, and Media Personnel.

In the seminar, Prof Dr. Rounaq Jahan expressed her concern about the fair election environment which EC has failed to confirm. She also said that EC doesn’t pay any attention to complaints that came from JatiyaOikya Front. Security specialist and also a former election commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain said, voters are still confused either they cast their vote or not and concern about their safety. He added that EC should clarify the responsibilities of the army. Sara Hossain, Supreme Court lawyer, said that EC doesn’t pay any attention to the attacks about the attacks on opposition candidates and their supporters. Professor Asif Nazrul stated that voters scared to go to polling stations due to attacks continuing on opposition candidates and their supporters and the army deployment doesn’t change the scenario. Supreme Court lawyer JyotirmoyBarua said expressed his concern on minority attacks in every election which never addressed properly. SanjeebDrong, Bangladesh Indigenous People’s Forum general secretary, shared his concern and said that minorities live in fear of attacks in every election. Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder and opposition JatiyaOikya Front leader Zafrullah Chowdhury stated that the activities of EC, the police and the ruling Awami League created a panicky situation for youths to cast their votes. Awami League leader Yusuf Hussain Humayun said that it is the sole responsibility of EC to ensure a safe and fair environment for voters to cast their votes.

The seminar was also addressed by, former information commissioner Dr. Sadeka Halim, former BTRC chairman Sunil Kanti Bose, CEO of BroteeSharmeenMurshid, former Secretary Sunil Kanti Bose, Emeritus Professor at Black Hills State University Dr. Ahrar Ahmed, and BangladesherSamyabadi Dal (Marxist-Leninist) general secretary DilipBarua.

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