YouTuber, Tejashwi's 'Rival': Arrested Bihar Journo Manish Kashyap's Murky Past

Manish Kashyap, who was arrested by the Bihar police over a fake news case, has been slapped with NSA in Tamil Nadu.

4 min read

Video Producer: Vishnu Gopinath

Video Editor: Pawan Kumar

Attempt to murder, attack on police personnel, spreading communal disharmony – YouTuber and journalist Manish Kashyap has a range of allegations against him in at least 10 cases filed across two states.

With 64.7 lakh subscribers on his YouTube channel 'Sach Tak News' and 40 lakh followers on Facebook, Kashyap is a sensation on the video-sharing platform and social media on issues related to Bihar.

Precisely why a recent tweet by him had both Bihar and Tamil Nadu in the headlines.

The post by Kashyap had screenshots from a video of Bihar workers being thrashed in Coimbatore, following which, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took cognisance. Hours later, the Tamil Nadu police confirmed that the video was fake, but the damage was already done.

Facing arrest and possible attachment of property, Kashyap surrendered before the Champaran police on 18 March, Saturday. The Tamil Nadu police on 5 April also slapped the National Security Act (NSA) against Kashyap, who has already moved the Supreme Court against his arrest. However, this is neither Kashyap's first controversy nor his first arrest.

'Sach Tak News' Embroiled in Truth vs Propaganda Debate 

Tripuri Kumar Tiwari aka Manish Kashyap, 31, hails from Champaran and calls himself the 'Son of Bihar'. An engineering graduate from Pune, Kashyap started his YouTube channel 'Sach Tak News' in 2018, which primarily began highlighting issues from rural parts of Bihar.

While highlighting the plight of Bihar's migrants and youth, the videos posted on his channel have more often focused on highlighting the failures of Bihar government schemes, which is currently being run by the Janata Dal (United)-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance.

As his popularity rose, so did the allegations of 'propaganda' by several leaders of the ruling government.

While he was jailed in 2019 for an alleged scuffle with local Kashmiris following the Pulwama attack, charge sheets have been filed against him in at least five other cases.


The Tamil Nadu Video Row

On 8 March, Kashyap posted screenshots from his Twitter handle of a video that showed two injured workers in Tamil Nadu narrating their woes of working in the southern state because they cannot speak Tamil.

In the post, Kashyap attacked Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, too.

A fact-check by The Quint's WebQoof team confirmed that the video that went viral before Kashyap posted the screenshots was scripted.

A few hours after Kumar took cognisance of the post, the Tamil Nadu police tweeted that the video was fake.

Subsequently, the Bihar police registered a case against him and the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) froze four of his bank accounts.


'Tejashwi Yadav is Targeting Me'

Kashyap's rivalry with Tejashwi is well known. He had his first showdown with Yadav last year when he alleged that a Gurugram mall raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) belonged to the Bihar deputy CM, following which the latter had issued a clarification on the matter.

In an interview given to TV9 Bharatvarsh days before his arrest, Kashyap alleged a conspiracy in Tamil Nadu to attack Bihari workers to not let the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) get stronger in the state. "Who knows if Bihar's Yuvraj (Tejashwi Yadav) is a part of this conspiracy since he cuts cakes with their CM MK Stalin?" Kashyap said.

"I am not scared of the authorities, but will Tejashwi Yadav be punished if I am proved innocent?" he asked.

Since the first FIR, Kashyap amplified his attacks on Yadav on the YouTube channel and has blamed the RJD for targeting him and his family.


'Believe in the Constitution, Judiciary'

Before he surrendered, Kashyap said that he trusted the Constitution and the judiciary and that he was being targeted for raising important questions.

In the 8.50 min-long clip, Kashyap said: "So many politicians, newspapers, and other social media users posted reports of attacks on Bihar migrants in Tamil Nadu, but the police and the authorities targeted me. My account has been frozen in which they said they 'found' Rs 42 lakh. Have you ever heard of the police addressing the media for money that is in somebody's account? Both my Aadhaar and PAN cards are linked to it. It is taxable money," he said.

"Tejashwi Yadav is after me. But I trust my followers and their support," he said, adding that he is fighting a fight for the "betterment of Bihar."

In another video posted with his mother, Kashyap urged his supporters to "take care of his mother."

In the interview given to TV9 Bharatvarsh, Kashyap said that he clearly mentioned in his post that "the authorities should clarify if the post is real or fake" but the fact that Bihar migrants face discrimination is true.


'Crossing Ethical Lines'

Nagesh Samrat is a former acquaintance of Kashyap and has formerly been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

"He is being harassed deliberately," he said.

Senior journalist from Bihar, Arun Pandey, said that Kashyap often finds himself in controversy since he is "connected with several big leaders of the state."

Anand Kaushal, president of the Web Journalists Association of India, said: "As a web journalist, Manish Kashyap has crossed several lines. There are questions being raised on his integrity. The association condemns such practices," he said.

"Web journalists should not push boundaries to an extent where they end up crossing ethical lines," he added.

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Topics:  YouTube   Tejashwi Yadav   Members Only 

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