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BJP and its Leader in Bihar Assembly Slammed Over Fake Videos of Attack on Migrant Workers in TN

A four-member team of senior officials investigated and said that reports and video clips about the attacks were fake.
Bihar assembly

Patna: The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Lenninist Liberation) [CPI(ML)] targeted the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for spreading misinformation inside and outside the Bihar Assembly by using fake videos that allege attacks on Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. On Thursday, the CPI(ML), a key ally of the ruling Mahagathbandhan in the state, staged a protest demanding an apology from the Leader of Opposition, Vijay Kumar Sinha.

The BJP and Sinha are on the back foot after a four-member team of senior officials from Bihar made it clear after visiting Tamil Nadu that the alleged attack or violence on Bihari migrant workers, as shown in the purported videos and news, never happened.

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 the reports and video clips were fake; there was no such thing," the team said.

The state government had sent the team to Tamil Nadu to meet Bihari migrant workers and interact with them to know the reality of the reports alleging attacks on them.

Holding a big red banner in Hindi, the CPI(ML) members protested against the BJP outside the main door of the Bihar Assembly. 

"We demand an apology from Vijay Kumar Sinha for his irresponsible actions inside the House. The BJP leader had played politics on a false ground; it was shameful. The CPI(ML) has exposed Sinha, who was on the forefront of showing fake video clips of attacks on Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu," CPI(ML) Legislative Party leader Mehboob Alam told NewsClick.

The CPI(ML), which has 12 MLAs, raised the issue of the use of fake video clips by the BJP in the ongoing budget session of the Bihar Assembly time and again. The MLAs raised slogans against the saffron party and accused it of doing politics while ignoring the interest of the state and its migrant workers, who are mostly poor.

"BJP members, particularly Sinha, tried to damage the federal structure and create regional tension, panic, and fear among Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. It is a matter of serious concern that the BJP members used fake video clips for vested interest," Alam said.

After the fake clips were made viral early this month, the BJP created a stir in the state Assembly on March 2 over the alleged attacks. The party targeted Deputy Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) 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.

Unhappy over the BJP's move, the ruling Mahagathbandhan allies RJD, JD-U, Congress, Left parties and HAM countered it both inside and outside the Assembly. 

Meanwhile, Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav repeatedly claimed that Bihari migrant workers were not attacked and beaten. He also talked to the Tamil Nadu DGP, who assured him that no such attack had occurred and the 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.

Last week the Bihar police initiated action against people spreading false rumours or news on social media about migrant workers being killed and attacked in Tamil Nadu by locals. The police have so far arrested three accused. Aman Kumar was the first one arrested based on the first FIR in the case against four named accused, which included 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. Later, the police arrested two more accused -- Rakesh Ranjan Kumar and Rakesh Tiwari -- on the basis of the second FIR in the case.

However, based on investigation, the officials of the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police probing the case said the fake videos were made by these accused at a rented house in Patna that were uploaded on social media.

The Additional Director General (ADG) of police (headquarters), Jitendra Singh Gangwar, said the 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.

Gangwar said the police would arrest all named accused in the case. The police have obtained a warrant for the arrest of Manish Kashyap and Yuvraj Singh. The EOU also froze Rs 42 lakh in four bank accounts belonging to Manish Kashyap.

According to the police, Kashyap, who is apparently the main brain behind the fake videos, has a criminal history record. More than half a dozen cases are pending against him. He was named an accused in an attack on Kashmiri shopkeepers in Patna and reportedly involved in hate crimes as well. After the police recently lodged a case against him, he threatened Tejashwi Yadav to finish his dream of becoming the CM.

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

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