BJP leader Prashant Umrao has been charged with spreading rumours on social media about the alleged "killing" of Bihar migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. The police has also booked the editor of a newspaper and owner of a local daily for spreading enmity and a police team has been formed to arrest them, officials said, according to a report by NDTV.
Prashant Umrao, who is the spokesperson of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP, had posted on Twitter that "12 migrants from Bihar were hung to death in Tamil Nadu for speaking in Hindi" along with sharing the image of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. The tweet which got over 14,000 likes has since then been deleted, the report by NDTV said.
Spread of fake messages
In the last week, several fake messages have been spread about attacks on Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu. These messages were being shared on WhatsApp. The state government of Tamil Nadu and Bihar have both issued a warning against spreading such messages.
IMPORTANT THREAD!— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) March 2, 2023
There are a several scaremongering tweets & videos viral with a false claim that Hindi speaking migrant workers from Bihar are being attacked in Tamil Nadu. Many news Channels misreported with similar misleading claims. @NitishKumar @bihar_police @tnpoliceoffl
Several videos were doing rounds on social media which alleged that migrant labourers were being beaten up brutally in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu police issued a statement clarifying that Bihari migrant workers were not being attacked in Tamil Nadu. Many news channels allegedly misreported these misleading claims.
"One video being circulated is actually an incident involving a fight between Bihar and Jharkhand workers in Tamil Nadu, while another video is connected to an incident involving local residents of Coimbatore. Tamil Nadu is a very peaceful and safe state where public order is being enforced effectively to ensure the safety of every citizen. The contents of the tweet is false and misleading," the police said in response.
One video being circulated is actually an incident involving a fight between Bihar and Jharkhand workers in Tamil Nadu, while another video is connected to an incident involving local residents of Coimbatore. Tamil Nadu is a very peaceful and safe state where 2/4— Tamil Nadu Police (@tnpoliceoffl) March 2, 2023
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin also spoke to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar following the rumours about alleged "attacks" on migrant workers and says that such persons are "acting against India's integrity". "Strict legal action will be taken against those who deliberately spread rumours, post fake videos and pictures on social media and try to spread fear and panic in the state," he said.
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin speaks to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar following rumours about alleged "attacks" on migrant workers and says that such persons are "acting against India's integrity"— ANI (@ANI) March 4, 2023
(file photo) pic.twitter.com/ORzPOCzq7q
Police also said that the content was being posted without verifying the facts. "Please don’t believe or spread such rumors," the statement said.
Tamil Nadu CM's assurance
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin assured to protect migrant workers from other states. "Migrant workers need not fear. If anyone threatens you, call on the helpline. Tamil Nadu government and people will stand to protect our migrant brothers," he said in a statement.
“வெளிமாநிலத் தொழிலாளர்கள் தமிழ்நாட்டில் தாக்கப்படுவதாக வதந்திகளைப் பரப்புபவர்கள், இந்திய நாட்டிற்கு எதிரானவர்கள்; நாட்டின் ஒருமைப்பாட்டிற்குக் குந்தகம் விளைவிப்பவர்கள்.— CMOTamilNadu (@CMOTamilnadu) March 4, 2023
A four-member team of officials from Bihar on Saturday left for Tamil Nadu to look into the allegations. According to the statement, the team will meet the Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police and other top officials of Tamil Nadu besides visiting Tiruppur district from where reports of attacks on Bihari migrants have surfaced.
Notably, two members of the team, D Balamurugan and P Kannan, hail from Tamil Nadu and according to sources in the state government they have been chosen so that "internal feedback" could be obtained, without facing problems of language.
The Police Headquarters also released helpline numbers issued by the Tamil Nadu police. However, returnees from the southern state are saying though they have come back for Holi festivities and would not like to go back to work if the situation did not improve. "I work as a carpenter. My earnings barely suffice to keep my body and soul together. The environment in Tamil Nadu has made the matters worse. I would not like to go back unless there is an improvement in the situation", said Vinod, who hails from Motihari.
(With PTI inputs)