The Bangladesh government has instructed the country's law enforcers to remain on high alert to thwart any untoward incidents ahead of parliamentary polls on Dec. 29.
The government also ordered the law enforcement agencies to ensure foolproof security during poll campaigns of two front runners Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, also two former prime ministers, a home ministry official Thursday told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The official said the government alerted the law enforcers amid growing security concerns after a gunfight between the elite-force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and militants near a rally venue in the country's southeastern Comilla district on Tuesday.
Two militants of the banned Islamist outfit Jamaat-ul- Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were nabbed and grenades and one bomb were found three kilometers away from the venue where Khaleda, chairperson of major party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), had addressed two hours earlier on Tuesday.
The banned JMB launched simultaneous bomb attacks in Bangladesh ' s 63 district headquarters out of total 64 on Aug. 17, 2005.
"We are high on alert since the government's warning to foil any attempt of untoward incidents," a senior official of Bangladesh's Armed Forces said.
Earlier, an Indian TV channel CNN-IBN quoting sources in Indian intelligence agencies reported Sheikh Hasina who is also president of another major party Awami League faces an assassination threat from another banned militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) .
Hasina narrowly survived a grenade attack on her public rally in Dhaka on Aug. 21, 2004 by suspected HUJI militants when over 20 people were killed and hundreds of others injured.
According to the home ministry, some 50,000 military troops, over 74,000 members of Armed Police Battalion and 6,000 RAB members have been deployed across the country to maintain law and order ahead of elections.
Besides, some 466,000 Ansar members (village guards) will be on security duty during the elections.
A total of 35,216 polling centers will be set up across the country. At each polling center, some 14 to 18 law-enforcers will be deployed to maintain security.
"We are confident in the security arrangements ahead of the elections," said Bangladesh's Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad.
More than 1,500 candidates are contesting for the 300 seats of the parliament in the country's ninth parliamentary elections.
(Xinhua News Agency December 25, 2008)