Three BJP parliamentarians sent by party chief Amit Shah on a "fact-finding" mission to West Bengal's Malda, which was hit by mob-violence last week, were stopped at the railway station and forced to take a train back to Kolkata this morning. The BJP has accused the state's ruling Trinamool Congress of protecting those behind the violence. The party alleges that the Kaliachak police station was targeted by people who wanted to burn down crime records. Ahead of assembly elections, the police are expected to act against people with criminal records. Violence erupted in Kaliachak on January 3 after a lakh-strong gathering of Muslim activists gathered to protest against alleged blasphemous comments by an activist of the right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, who is now in a Lucknow jail.The protesters, some of whom were allegedly armed, ransacked a Border Security Force (BSF) jeep, attacked a police station and burnt cars. There were also reports of firing. The police say the violence started after the BSF jeep got stuck in a jam on the highway because of the procession. 51 per cent of Malda, which borders Bangladesh, is Muslim. The Trinamool won just one assembly seat out of 12 in 2011 but since then, defections from the Congress and the Left have raised the Trinamool tally up to five. Two Lok Sabha seats were won by the Congress in 2014. The BJP has so far been a minor player in the state. It got 16 per cent vote share in 2014 but its performance was poorer in recent civic polls. It is now targeting the Assembly polls. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP increased its vote share in Malda by almost 15 per cent. SS Ahluwalia, Bhupendra Yadav and Ram Vilas Vedanti said the police were under pressure from the state's Mamata Banerjee government when they asked them to leave citing prohibitory orders in the Kaliachak town of Malda. Ruling party lawmaker Derek O'Brien alleged that the BJP leaders were "going to fan the fire" in Malda and polarize voters. "It is a poor attempt by the BJP to communalise a criminal incident with 100 days to go till assembly polls. We are not getting sucked into the narrative," Mr O'Brien told NDTV.

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