Fake video on migrant attack in Tamil Nadu shot in Bihar, 3 arrested

By, Patna
Mar 14, 2023 05:37 AM IST

The accused, Rakesh Ranjan Kumar Singh, hired two people, identified as Anil Yadav and Aditya Kumar, to pose as injured labourers for the video, the Patna Police said.

Little did Rajkumar Prasad Gupta, a small-time fruit trader, realise that he was heading for a trouble on March 1 when he rented out his house at Bengali Tola locality in Patna to one Rakesh Ranjan Kumar Singh.

Two officials from the Bihar government met with the Bihar-based migrant workers amid rumored attacks, in Chennai on March 7. (ANI)
Two officials from the Bihar government met with the Bihar-based migrant workers amid rumored attacks, in Chennai on March 7. (ANI)

On March 10, the Patna police came knocking at his door with his tenant Singh, who runs a YouTube channel, BNR News Agency, saying he had used the room to make a fake video of migrant workers being assaulted in Tamil Nadu — an issue that had rocked the ongoing budget session in Bihar legislature and made national headline.

Also Read | In Tamil Nadu, 2 from right-wing outfit among 4 held for assaulting migrants

Singh was arrested from his village in Gopalganj district on March 8. During interrogation, Singh confessed to having rented Gupta’s house under the Jakkanpur police station limit to make a fake video on March 6 and uploading it on social media, police said.

Singh hired two people, identified as Anil Yadav and Aditya Kumar, to pose as injured labourers for the video. Gupta told the police that he was aware that the accused used to make videos in the room, but was not aware about the specifics, said a senior police officer.

“They purchased cotton, bandage and betadine from a local medical shop to show injuries on Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. After putting fake injury marks using make-up, Singh shot the video from his cell phone and uploaded it on social media,” said the officer, requesting anonymity.

Also Read | 12 FIRs filed over rumours of attacks on migrants: Tamil Nadu Police

The video was later shared by one Manish, another YouTuber who ran a channel “Sach Tak News”, on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Singh informed the police that he made the video on the instruction of Manish, who assured him of good money for the fake video, the officer said.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin rejected allegations of violence on migrant workers, warning of swift action against rumour-mongers spreading panic. He also reassured his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar that no harm would befall workers.

The issue rocked the Bihar assembly earlier this month, with leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalling the proceedings, claiming Bihari workers were being targeted for speaking Hindi in Tamil Nadu. A high-level committee of officials from Bihar that probed into the allegations also confirmed that no such attack had taken place in the southern state.

The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police registered three first information reports (FIRs) under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and IT Act in connection with fake videos on migrants being attacked in Tamil Nadu. So far, three of the eight accused identified in the cases have been arrested, said Bihar additional director general (ADG) (police headquarters) Jitendra Singh Gangwar.

The arrested accused — Rakesh Ranjan Kumar Singh, Aman Kumar and Rakesh Tiwari — have been remanded in judicial custody, said the ADG. “On Monday, separate teams of EoU carried out raids to arrest the remaining accused,” he said. “The EoU has identified more than 50 videos posted on social media platforms related to the issue. We have identified 26 suspicious social media accounts and issued notices to 42 other social media accounts.”

Police said Manish, a resident of Dumri Mahnawa village in West Champaran district, is yet to be arrested. He had unsuccessfully contested the 2020 Bihar assembly elections as an independent candidate from Chanpatia seat.

“He is an active member of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh),” ruling Janata Dal (United) MLC Neeraj Kumar told reporters, showing Manish’s pictures in RSS uniform. When asked about Kumar’s claim, Gangwar refused to comment.

However, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand accused the Bihar government of unnecessarily dragging the opposition party in the issue. “They (Bihar government) are making an independent YouTuber a scapegoat to avoid serious and larger question related to the labourers and migrants of Bihar,” Anand said. “Nitish Kumar and his government is feeling uncomfortable with questions raised by the journalist and is unnecessarily dragging the name of BJP.”

Gangwar said the police were also conducting raids in other states, including Delhi, in connection with the cases and also trying to ascertain why were the videos made and on whose instructions.

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    Avinash, a senior correspondent, reports on crime, railways, defence and social sector, with specialisation in police, home department and other investigation agencies.

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