Video Producer: Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam
Fake news alleging assault on Bihari migrant workers by locals in Tamil Nadu went viral on social media. Fake narrative was used to show how Tamil Nadu is unsafe for Biharis.
There were reports of migrant labourers leaving jobs in Tamil Nadu and returning to Bihar.
Fake news spread like wildfire on social media. The issue was raised in the Bihar assembly. The BJP was quick to slam Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the abuse of Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu.
Nitish Kumar sent a special team to Chennai to probe the matter.
Later, the Tamil Nadu police issued clarification calling the allegations fake. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin reached out to migrant labourers living in the state.
Bihar and Tamil Nadu police registered FIRs against journalists and media for publishing fake news. Of those arrested for spreading fake news is, YouTuber and self-proclaimed journalist Manish Kashyap.
But why fake news only about Bihari being abused in Tamil Nadu? Migrant workers from other Hindi-speaking states also live and work in Tamil Nadu. Why were only Bihari migrant workers targeted? Who spread the fake narrative? How did the fake report start circulating on social media?
In February 2023, a Tamil-speaking man allegedly misbehaved with migrant labourers. The accused also blamed the migrant workers for eating into the job opportunities of the locals. The man was later arrested by railway police.
A Bihari resident, Pawan Yadav was murdered allegedly by a local in Tamil Nadu in late February. The news was also shown as an “attack on Biharis in Tamil Nadu”.
Tamil Nadu police denied the claim and said that there was a dispute between the victim and the accused.
Following the TN police's statement, FIRs were registered against Dainik Bhaskar, OpIndia, and the BJP's UP unit spokesperson Prashant Rao for spreading fake news. On 8 March, YouTuber Manish Kashyap claimed on Twitter that Bihari migrant workers were being abused in Tamil Nadu.
The claim was debunked by The Quint and it was found that the screenshot of the video that was shared by Kashyap was fictitious and was a scripted video made for entertainment purposes. Bihar police registered an FIR against Manish Kashyap and his bank account was seized.
Kashyap is a repeat offender and has 10 more cases against him.
Who could be gaining from this fake narrative? Migrant workers are being forced to leave their jobs and return home. Jobs are being lost to lies, hatred is being spread and state vs state divide is being widened. And all of this is forcing us to ask… Janab, Aise Kaise?