BJP-RSS turning Malda ‘criminal’ issue to ‘communal’: Trinamool

Kolkata: Accusing the BJP parliamentary team of trying to go to Kaliachak in Malda district to fuel “communal tension”, West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Monday said the BJP and the RSS were trying to turn a “criminal issue” into a communal one in view of the upcoming assembly polls.

“This was a ‘criminal issue’ but the BJP/RSS, as is their strategy, tried to turn it into a ‘communal issue’.

“They did this by trending hashtags on Twitter, sharing year-old photographs and posting irresponsible tweets with the help of their social media ‘army’,” Trinamool’s chief national spokesperson Derek O’Brien said in a statement here.

O’Brien said the situation at Kaliachak was “tense”, but never “got out of hand” and praised police for handling the issue “tactfully”.

“Thankfully, no deaths occurred, no injuries and 10 people have been arrested.”

The Trinamool Rajya Sabha member alleged that the “BJP/RSS were trying for the last one week to present, what I call, CIN 100: Communally Insensitive Narrative, 100 days before the state goes to polls.”

He said these outfits followed the same tactic in all election-bound states.

Refering to the Malda district administration’s refusal to allow a three-member BJP team to go to Kaliachak on Monday morning, O’Brien said: “The BJP team did not come here this morning for a ‘fact finding mission’. They came here for a ‘fuel the communal tension’ mission.”

The three BJP MPs — Bhupendra Yadav, Ram Vilas Vedanti and S.S. Ahluwalia — were detained soon after they alighted from Gaur Express at Malda station onway to Kaliachak, and forced to board a train for Kolkata.

On BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh’s remarks that Malda had become a hub for drug trade as the authorities overlooked opium cultivation, O’Brien said: “We have been saying all along this is a sensitive issue in a border town and not a communal issue.”

According to reports, protesting against remarks allegedly made to “hurt religious sentiments” in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of people on January 3 went on a rampage in Kaliachak, torching vehicles including those belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF) and also attacked a police station.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asserted that the violence was not the result of a communal strife but a fight between BSF personnel and residents of the area.