Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh on Saturday cancelled his visit to Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district which was hit by communal clashes, leaving 48 dead and more than 43,000 displaced.

Mr. Singh, officials said, had been requested by District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma not to come to the city.

In a fax letter sent to the BJP president’s office, the DM urged him not to pay a visit to the area as it could disturb calm and peace that is prevailing in the area after a string of violent clashes and incidents since Sep 7.

Officials said Mr. Singh was to start from his Ashoka road residence in New Delhi for Muzaffarnagar but later put off his visit in view of the tension after the arrest of BJP legislator Suresh Rana Friday.

“While we continue to maintain that the state government had completely failed to protect the citizens in the area, the BJP president did not want to take the blame of any untoward incident that might follow,” a close aide said.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had also called off his visit to Muzaffarnagar Friday owing to the “continued tension in the region”.