The Tamil Nadu Police on Monday, 6 March, booked right-wing news portal OpIndia’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rahul Roushan and Editor-in-Chief Nupur J Sharma for allegedly carrying fake news and creating a sense of fear among migrant labourers in the state.
Why are OpIndia's top executives booked in TN?
According to News9Live, the news portal OpIndia had claimed that it had spoken to Bihari workers in Tamil Nadu and said that 12 Hindi-speaking workers were hanged to death in a room and Hindi-speaking labourers were stabbed wherever they saw.
OpIndia wrote in an article last week:
"They (migrant labourers from Bihar) have alleged that as many as 15 people have lost their lives in the "Talibani" style attacks being carried out against the Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in the state."OpIndia
The action was reportedly taken based on the complaint filed by Suryaprakash, a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) IT wing member, seeking action against the portal for posting the alleged agenda-driven piece of news. The complaint further noted a risk of conflict between the locals and the workers from other states.
Thirunindravur Police Station in Avadi, Tamil Nadu, booked the case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
Who all have faced the legal heat for rumour-mongering? The Economic Offence Unit (EOU) of the Bihar Police has booked four persons: Aman Kumar, Rakesh Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh Rajput, and Manish Kashyap, for allegedly sharing fake videos that claimed Bihari labourers were being persecuted in Tamil Nadu. While Kumar was arrested on Monday in the Jamui district of Bihar, a search is on for the rest, police said.
Recently, the Tamil Nadu Police had also booked the TN state president of BJP along with a BJP Spokesperson from Uttar Pradesh, an editor of a newspaper, and a journalist from an Urdu newspaper on the charge of spreading fake videos and news on social media.
What exactly is the Bihar-TN migrants row? A few days ago, a few videos circulated through WhatsApp and other social media platforms claiming that Hindi-speaking Bihari labourers have been subjected to hate crimes in Tamil Nadu.
However, the Chief Minister MK Stalin's DMK government in Tamil Nadu immediately addressed the matter and issued statements on 4 March, reassuring the safety of all migrant workers in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu police also issued helpline numbers 0421 - 2203313, 9498101300, and 9498101320 to enable migrant workers to address any issues.
Amidst the panic created among the migrant workforce, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar directed the state chief secretary and director general of police to get in touch with their counterparts in Tamil Nadu to get the details. The Bihar government also sent a four-member team of top officials to Tamil Nadu to speak to officials there and visit places like Tiruppur, where the migrants were allegedly beaten up by local people.
Bihar's rural development secretary, D Balamurugan, who was in Tamil Nadu to interact with migrant workers, said that the Tamil Nadu government’s measures to ease the current situation have been satisfactory.