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Politics heats up over fake news on migrants in Tamil Nadu; state police books TN BJP chief for spreading false news 

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi Rumours led to the playing out of an ugly story of two states – Tamil Nadu versus Bihar – in Tamil Nadu with politics heating up over alleged attacks on migrant workers from Bihar in the state of Tamil Nadu. The fake news that was circulated in video form on social media […]

Edited By : Lakshmana | Updated: Mar 13, 2023 14:42 IST
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Tamil Nadu

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi

Rumours led to the playing out of an ugly story of two states – Tamil Nadu versus Bihar – in Tamil Nadu with politics heating up over alleged attacks on migrant workers from Bihar in the state of Tamil Nadu. The fake news that was circulated in video form on social media has had the potential of destroying the social fabric in Tamil Nadu and sparking off a law-and-order situation, but for the timely and effective action by the state administration and police. 

In an effective counter and move to quell the unrest and fear caused by the fake news, both Tamil Nadu and Bihar governments moved in quickly to quell the panic that was getting spread due to the videos that showed some migrant workers being beaten up in Tamil Nadu. Not only did the two states deploy teams to get to the bottom of the incident, but also began investigating the origins of the fake news. 

While one person has been arrested in Bihar by the Bihar police, the Tamil Nadu government has booked TN state unit Chief, K Annamalai for propaganda against the government and for making statements that could disturb the peace and create a law-and-order situation. The former police officer, Annamalai has dared the DMK government to arrest him and said that he was only highlighting the negative narrative that the DMK was indulging in for decades. 

Following the circulation of videos, purported to be of Tamil Nadu that showed migrant workers being beaten up and illtreated, a strong reaction came from the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who sought answers from his Tamil Nadu counterpart. TN Chief Minister MK Stalin quickly deployed TN officials of Bihar origins and they investigated and found that the videos were fake and the situation on the ground was normal. 

The Bihar government sent an official team for an on-the-spot assessment. The issue seemed tailor-made for the BJP which is trying its best to make deeper inroads into the state and it sought to fish in the troubled waters. It jumped in with a condemnation of Tamil Nadu’s DMK by asserting that the TN regional party carried out a divisive narrative for several decades and party that was biased against the north Indians. 

In fact, BJP Tamil Nadu unit president Annamalai first tweeted about the attacks against migrants and later seemed to make a U-turn and admitted that the news appeared to be fake. But he did not relent on his attack against what he said was DMK’s narrative – an anti-Hindi tirade that bordered on hate of north Indians. 

The Tamil Nadu government did not waste a minute and deployed IAS and IPS officials of Bihar origins who investigated the videos and found that they were false, and in fact the situation on the ground was peaceful and that no incidents as shown in the videos did not take place in the state. In fact, Chief Minister MK Stalin told Bihar CM Nitish Kumar that all was well and that all ‘guest workers’ were safe, as always. 

The Tamil Nadu police registered a case and are investigating, and have even booked the TN BJP Chief, K Annamalai, who himself was an IPS officer before he joined politics, for spreading information that could disturb peace and relations between sections of the people.  In fact, Annamalai had blamed the DMK for dividing the state and being behind rumours of attacks on Bihari migrant workers and has been booked for making false propaganda. In a series of tweets on Saturday, the BJP leader mentioned the videos circulating in social media that showed alleged attacks on migrant workers and these he said were a result of the decades of the divide that the DMK stood for. Tamil Nadu government and police have denied that there has been any violence and that the videos were false. 

Chennai’s Cyber Crime branch has filed cases against Annamalai under Section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A(1)(a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), and 505 (statements conducting to public mischief) after he tweeted on the issue of migrant workers. Incidentally an Uttar Pradesh BJP leader, Prashant Umrao is said to have been arrested for circulating a video of the alleged murder of 12 Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu. 


In fact, Annamalai accused the DMK leaders of making vile statements against North Indians for since a long time.

TN DGP Shailendra Babu said in a statement, “Somebody in Bihar has posted a false and misleading video regarding migrant workers from Bihar being attacked in Tamil Nadu. Two videos which are circulating on social media regarding the incident are false. The facts of the videos are twisted so as to appear that migrant workers living in Tamil Nadu are being attacked”.

Chief Minister Stalin said that migrant workers in Tamil Nadu were safe and that strict action would be taken against those spreading misinformation, leading to fear and panic.

In a thread of tweets that he posted Saturday, Annamalai accused the DMK’s MPs of making “vile comments on North Indians.” 


The TN BJP unit chief described police action against him as “suppressing the voice of democracy”, which led to a heated exchange in a sharp exchange and counter from the DMK leaders. A DMK MLA T.R.B Rajaa charged the BJP with circulating rumours and disseminating false information, that caused all the trouble, and led to tensions between the two states. 

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First published on: Mar 09, 2023 08:51 AM IST

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