The spark was lit in Uttar Pradesh by a Hindu ‘Mahasabha’ leader who insulted the prophet. He is now in jail. But the fires are raging in West Bengal’s Malda and Bihar’s Purnea.

Unfortunately, in West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is in denial mode. She has claimed, even before probing, that the violence in Malda did not have communal origins but that the opposition BJP was adducing a communal motive to polarise the State.

Her claims however fly in the face of an exhaustive NewsX investigation that shows that the Malda violence was pre-planned and a group of hate mongers put up posters in several quarters of the district calling on residents to gather in protest against the Hindu Mahasabha leader’s anti-Islam comments.

Over in Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is maintaining a stoic silence over large-scale violence in Purnea. There some locals returning from a protest organised by an Islamic group against the Hindu Mahasabha leader’s sentiments laid waste to a police station and public property.

The BJP and other parties are claiming that Nitish and Mamata are silent because they are reluctant to go against minority sentiments for obvious reasons. The blame game has begun but one can’t help but think that political parties are playing with fire for electoral gains?