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Hindi-speaking migrants returning from Tamil Nadu narrate horrific stories of atrocities while the TN govt calls them fake, BJP MLAs protest in Bihar assembly

Labourers from Bihar are fleeing Tamil Nadu alleging targeted attacks are being carried out against Hindi-speaking migrants in the state due to their linguistic identities.

The incidents of alleged attacks against Bihari labourers in Tamil Nadu are becoming more frequent. Several Bihar leaders raised this issue in the Bihar Legislative Assembly today and slammed the Nitish Kumar-led administration over the issue. The labourers who have returned from Tamil Nadu to Bihar are on the other hand revealing the on-ground scenario there, though the DGP of Tamil Nadu has termed the torture as untrue.

It is pertinent to note that a report by the Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar that was published on March 2, 2023, had earlier claimed that as many as 15 people have lost their lives in “Talibani” style attacks being carried out against the Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in the state. However, the Hindi newspaper has retracted that report and now, in its updated version, presented testimonies of the migrant labourers who have said that they are fleeing Tamil Nadu because of the violence that has been unleashed on Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in the state because of their linguistic identity.

The Hindi-speaking migrant workers claim that they are assaulted even on the trains. On March 1, a few people, residents of Ranchi in Jharkhand, also returned to their homeland from Tamil Nadu. They said that the atmosphere in the South Indian state has been bad for the last 20 days. “The local people there ask others where they are from. If they tell from a Hindi-speaking state, they are abused in Tamil and beaten up. Biharis living in Tamil Nadu say they are shying away from venturing out,” one of the labourers who returned to Ranchi said.

BJP protests in the Bihar Assembly

The Bharatiya Janata Party strongly objected to the incidents of attack and slammed Bihar state CM Nitish Kumar over the incident. They raised the issue in the Bihar Assembly and demanded a probe into the incident. The BJP leaders also walked out of the Assembly as a part of the protest.

BJP leader Sanjay Jaiswal demanded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to make public the number of people from Bihar attacked in Tamil Nadu. He said that he is pained by the plight of Bihari workers in Tamil Nadu.

Jaiswal said that while several Biharis are being attacked in Tamil Nadu, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav is going to the state and meeting the CM MK Stalin and speaking nothing about the attacks on Biharis there.

According to a tweet from BJP Legislator Umakant Singh, 12 Bihari labourers have died and more than 50 have been hurt in Tamil Nadu. The BJP staged a walkout from the House in protest of the attack on Biharis in Tamil Nadu and urged that labourers’ safety be guaranteed as well as that the offenders be dealt with harshly. Contrarily, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav is dining out while celebrating Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s 70th birthday.

Tamil Nadu Police denies incidents, calls it fake

The Tamil Nadu DGP Sylendra Babu meanwhile denied the killings and issued a statement on Thursday, March 2 claiming that Bihari migrant workers were not being attacked in Tamil Nadu. He said that he had reached out to his counterpart in Bihar, DGP RS Bhatti, and refuted the reports being shared in the media and on social media.

“The videos that are being circulated on social media are four months old and show clashes between migrant workers belonging to Bihar and Jharkhand. Another video is of a murder that took place in Coimbatore outside a court complex last month. No attacks on migrant workers have taken place in Tamil Nadu,” Babu said.

Tamil Nadu Police further tweeted saying, “Rumors are being spread on Social Media and other media platforms that North Indians and Hindi-speaking people are being assaulted in Tamil Nadu. The contents are posted without verifying the facts. Please don’t believe or spread such rumours.

You are advised not to spread such false information, failing which legal action will be taken, it warned.

Update as of 4th March: Prashant Patel Umrao, a spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been charged by the Tamil Nadu Police with filing an FIR, under many sections of the Indian Criminal Code (IPC), accusing him of spreading false information about fatal attacks on migrant labourers in Tamil Nadu. An editor of Hindi Daily, Dainik Bhaskar and Mohammed Tanvir, a journalist, is also booked for allegedly disseminating false information and animosity. A Tamil Nadu police team has been assembled to arrest the accused. The full report can be read here.

Update: The claims about murders and killing as well as the fingers of the Hindi-speaking migrant labourers being chopped and the labourers being locked in a room and hanged, which were reported by Dainik Bhaskar were retracted after the incident caused nationwide controversy. Since our reports were based on Dainik Bhaskar’s report and were reproduced here crediting them explicitly, we have removed those claims as well because Bhaskar doesn’t seem to be standing by it anymore.

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