'BJP members from north Indian states…': Tamil Nadu CM on 'attack' videos
Bihari migrant workers 'attacked' in Tamil Nadu: TN chief minister MK Stalin has spoken to Bihar's Nitish Kumar, and reassured him of the safety of men and women from his state
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on Thursday accused 'BJP members from north Indian states' of spreading 'fake news' - about the alleged assault on Bihari migrant workers. He claimed a 'politically motivated plot' against his government, and pointed out the rumours - viral on social media and shared by some media publications - emerged a day after he called on the opposition to unite against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party before the 2024 election.
He was referring to comments made last week - during his birthday celebration - at which there were calls for him to be the opposition's prime ministerial face.
Stalin today said his state is home to people from across India and that 'Tamils love brotherhood… This is well known to the northern state brothers here'.
"You can understand the plot if you notice this (spreading of the rumours) was done the day after I spoke about the need for a united, national-level alliance against the BJP. Few people created fake videos… spread false news. BJP members from north Indian states did this with bad intentions," he said.
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Stalin stressed he had spoken to his state's top police officials and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, and that the latter's government had expressed 'full satisfaction' after a delegation checked on the safety of Bihari migrant workers.
READ | 'Situation normal': Bihar team in TN amid rumours of attacks
"Post this fake news I inquired and spoke to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. There are no such incidents in Tamil Nadu… DGP (Sylendra Babu) has given clarification. Even Bihar delegates visited and returned with full satisfaction," the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader said.
Stalin, TN government reach out
On Tuesday Stalin also visited some migrant communities - to allay apprehension and panic over the fake videos of attacks on Bihari workers.
On the same day, senior DMK leader TR Baalu - his party's leader in the Lok Sabha - called on Nitish Kumar in Patna to assure him of migrant workers' safety. Stalin has also spoken to Nitish Kumar on the telephone.
READ | Stalin speaks to Nitish Kumar amid 'fake news' of attacks on Biharis
Tamil Nadu has a large population of workers from northern states like Bihar, who work in various sectors, including textiles and construction.
From March 1 four videos - claiming horrific attacks on Bihari migrants - began circulating. The Tamil Nadu government realised this could spin out of control, and reached out to the migrants and acted against those spreading the rumours.
One such video was investigated and junked as having been manufactured by a Jharkhand native and his friends to create unrest among the migrant workforce.
TN, Bihar police act
Police in both states have taken action.
Tamil Nadu top cop Babu told reporters 'somebody in Bihar' had posted the fake videos; one, he said, was of a fight between two groups of migrants and another was between locals in Coimbatore.
Bihar Police's Additional Director General, Jitendra Singh Gangawar said reports a migrant worker was killed was a suicide case made to look like murder.
This week Bihar Police arrested one person and filed cases against others for distributing misinformation, while their Tamil Nadu counterparts red-flagged a video distributed by a Bihar 'journalist' who also attacked Nitish Kumar for lying to the people of his state, and then tagged prime minister Narendra Modi.
Police in Tamil Nadu have filed 12 FIRs - against individuals and institutions, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, a senior state official said Wednesday.
A case was filed against the BJP's state chief K Annamalai and another against the party's Twitter handle. Another was against an Uttar Pradesh BJP leader - Prashant Umrao - who got pre-arrest bail Tuesday from the Delhi High Court.
With input from agencies