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TN: OpIndia’s CEO, editor summoned over fake news on migrant workers killing

The CEO of right-wing media OpIndia Rahul Roushan and editor-in-chief Nupur J Sharma have been summoned by the Tamil Nadu police in relation to spreading fake news on the plight of Bihar migrant workers in the southern state on their website as “news” leading to widespread tension.

OpIndia had claimed in one of its reportage on March 3 that Bihar migrant workers were being “brutally murdered” by their Tamilian employers.

The right-wing news portal also claimed that they had spoken to 15 Bihari migrants fleeing Tamil Nadu.

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Shravan Kumar, another Bihari labourer who worked in Tamil Nadu and returned home two days ago, claimed the situation in the state is exceedingly dangerous, with Bihari migrant labourers being targeted. “Locals want us to return to Bihar, accusing us of snatching their employment…they are attacking us wherever they see us, and our employers and local officials are of no help. “We were terrified,” Shravan Kumar lamented – was one of the quotes from the article on OpIndia.

Roushan and Sharma were booked on March 6 based on a complaint by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) IT wing member Suryaprakash.

The two were charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).

Bihar migrant workers’ row explained

Last month in March, several fake news started circulating on social media platforms mainly WhatsApp and Facebook stating that Hindi-speaking migrant workers, mainly from Bihar, were being assaulted and killed by their Tamilian bosses.

Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai who shared the purported video on his social media platforms was finally booked by the state police on charges of inciting violence and promoting enmity between two groups.

A BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh Prashant Umrao was also booked for tweeting misleading information. It also filed a complaint against the editor of Dainik Bhaskar and the owner of Tanvir Post for ‘inciting’ riots.

The tweet, which gained massive likes was subsequently deleted.

MK Stalin, the state’s chief minister, has made a statement ensuring the protection of migrant workers. “Migrant employees should not be concerned. If you are threatened, contact the hotline. The Tamil Nadu government and people will defend our migrant brothers,” he said.

Tamil Nadu district collectors as well as Bihar IPS officers posted in Tamil Nadu also published video messages in Hindi urging migrant workers not to be afraid.

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