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Bihar: News About Attacks on Migrant Workers in Tamil Nadu Found to be Fake

Bihar Police has initiated action against several individuals for spreading fake news.
Bihar: News About Attacks on Migrant Workers in Tamil Nadu Found to be Fake

Representational Image. (File Image)

Patna: Reports from last week alleging attacks on Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu have been found to be false; fake video clips were used to create panic and fear regarding the situation. Bihar police have initiated action against people spreading these false rumours, as revealed by a senior official of the state police headquarters on Tuesday.

The police arrested Aman Kumar, one among four accused of spreading fake news on social media about migrant workers being killed and attacked in Tamil Nadu by locals.

After the fake clips were made viral, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) created a stir in the state Assembly on March 2 over the alleged attacks. The party targeted deputy chief minister and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leader Tejashwi Yadav for attending Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin's birthday party. BJP MLAs and MLCs staged a protest inside and outside the state Assembly without verifying the reality of the issue.

However, despite being attacked by BJP, Tejashwi Yadav claimed that Bihari migrant workers were not attacked and beaten; he talked to Tamil Nadu DGP, who assured that no such attack had occurred and video clips that went viral on social media were "false and mischievous".

Tejashwi Yadav then dared the BJP to get the matter investigated by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs if they did not have faith in his words.

Tejashwi Yadav's stand was vindicated by a four-member team of senior officials, which made it clear after visiting Tamil Nadu that situation was normal and fear among migrant workers was caused by fake video clips on social media. The state government had sent a four-member team to Tamil Nadu to meet Bihari migrant workers and interact with them to know the reality of reports of alleged attacks.

The team led by Bihar Rural Development Secretary D Balamurgan said that reports and video clips about attacks on Bihari migrant workers were fake.

"We found that reports and video clips were fake; there was no such thing."

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi also informed Bihar Governor Vishwanath Arlekar that Bihari migrant workers were safe in Tamil Nadu. Ravi assured Arlekar that the administration in Tamil Nadu would provide protection to migrant workers and there was no need for their families to worry,

On Tuesday, March 7, senior DMK leader TR Balu met Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna and informed him that the panic resulted from rumours due to fake news. Balu's visit assumed much significance given the hue and cry generated by BJP over attacks on Bihari migrant workers.

Bali failed to meet Tejashwi Yadav as he, and his mother, former chief minister Rabri Devi, left for Delhi early Tuesday to celebrate Holi with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has been recovering after kidney transplantation.

However, based on investigation, the Economic Offence Unit (EOU) of Bihar police has lodged an FIR against four named accused, including Manish Kashyap, owner cum main anchor of a YouTube news channel Sachtak, Rajesh Tiwari of another YouTube channel, Prayas News, Yuvraj Singh Rajput, a Twitter user, and Aman Kumar for spreading fake news and fake videos.

"EOU investigation team has found more than 30 fake videos and fake news posts circulated on social media in connection to migrants being killed and beaten in Tamil Nadu. Several videos that were viral on social media were old and not at all related to migrant workers in Tamil Nadu," Additional director general (ADG) of police (headquarters) Jitendra Singh Gangwar told NewsClick.

Gangwar said police would arrest all named accused and did not rule out the possibility of police action against more people in the matter.

Gangwar said EOU has requested social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, and Gmail to preserve 42 objectionable video posts and links for 90 days, which were found misleading and fake.

Interestingly, two leading Hindi dailies also reported the news based on fake videos and posts about migrant workers being beaten, harassed and attacked in Tamil Nadu.

Thousands of Bihari migrant workers, including unskilled, skilled, and professionals, have been working in Tamil Nadu and other states nationwide. However, the state government has no official records. 

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