It has been a week since violence erupted in the Kaliachak area of Malda district in West Bengal. A large mob, protesting against Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari's comment on Prophet Mohammed, attacked the local police station and set it on fire - along with 40 vehicles.
Additional forces have been deployed to monitor the situation. While the clashes were perceived to be a communal divide, residents have denied this claim. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, on 9 January, claimed that the Malda incident was a fight between BSF and the people - and not a communal clash.
Media outlets have revealed some startling facts about the area. Take a look:
- According to a recent Mail Today report on the issue, a number of residents of the region are involved in massive illegal trade and opium-poppy cultivation.
- The report states that the money earned through sale of these drugs is then used to buy weapons smuggled from neighbouring Bangladesh and is used in running illegal and unrecognised madrasas.
- According to the report, the local officials asserted that the violence and attack on Kaliachak police station was planned in advance to destroy criminal records under the cover of communal tension.
- Residents claim the riots were kicked off after the Border Security Force and police personnel began to close in on these criminals.
- According to a report by the Sunday Guardian, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) is working to nab the key suspects involved in fake currency trade. The report quoted a senior official as saying that there was more to the protest rally than what meets the eye. He said:
- "The protest rally was just one side of the story.The hand of cross border jihadists elements cannot be ruled out. On one hand, terrorising Hindus would serve the purpose of giving the incident a communal twist to suit political interests in the run up to the Bengal elections, on the other hand, destroying records was a means of giving a free run to the criminals".