Recently, a video went viral on social media in which an individual can be seen verbally and physically assaulting Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in a crowded train compartment. In the video, the individual talks about the loss of job opportunities for Tamil Nadu natives due to migration even as he punches and slaps the labourers. The video can be watched here.
Days after the video went viral, the Government Railway Police (GRP) traced the accused identified as Magimaidas, 38, from Villupuram, and arrested him, reported The Hindu.
In the context of this incident, a handful of other videos are circulating on social media as visuals of assault against Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in Tamil Nadu.
Twitter user Mohammad Tanvir, who is a Twitter blue subscriber, shared three violent clips with a caption in Hindi that says, “North Indians are being attacked in Tamil Nadu. Hindi speaking people are being attacked. The government of Bihar, the government of Uttar Pradesh, the government of Jharkhand, all are silent. Such oppression of Hindi-speaking people has never been seen before in India. Attacks are being carried out with swords and other weapons.” (Archive.)
Alt News is only providing screenshots of the videos due to their graphic nature.
VIDEO #1: Masked men attack with sickle and machete
In this clip, we see three masked men attack an individual with a sickle and machete. The viral clip only shows the part where they’re done attacking the individual and they leave as the victim manages to run away.
We took a close look at the video and noticed that one of the signboards is written in Tamil. In addition to that, we also noticed a signboard that possibly reads ‘Sri Ram Xerox’.
Taking note of these clues, we performed a keyword search and found one Sri Ram Xerox in Coimbatore. We also broke down the video into key-frames and performed Google reverse image search and came across a tweet that talked about multiple murders in Tamil Nadu. One of those were reported from Coimbatore. It contained visuals that matched one of the frames of the viral clip.
We then performed an additional keyword search and came across a report by The Hindu published on February 13. The headline read, ‘Gang wars resurface in Coimbatore: Two hacked to death in public in two days’
The report read that a 24-year-old man was hacked to death near the Combined Court Complex. He was assaulted by a five-member gang with machetes when he came to the court with his friend, Manoj. The 24-year-old victim was identified as Gokul, who allegedly was one of the accused involved in the murder of a 22-year-old youth near Saravanampatti in Coimbatore in December 2021.
The five attackers were later apprehended by police, as reported by the local media.
Hence, the viral video has nothing to do with the assault on migrant labourers. The victim here was likely an accomplice in a murder case and was killed by people possibly involved in the case.
VIDEO #2: Police watch as people assist an injured man
In the second clip, we can see a crowd gathered around a body while a handful of individuals attempt to help a bloodied person lying on the road. Two cops are also bystanders in this clip.
Alt News found a statement by Tamil Nadu police in which this clip as well as the clip discussed above are addressed. Police said that these incidents happened in the past — in Tiruppur and in Coimbatore — and are not related to attacks on migrant workers. According to them, the clip from Tiruppur is related to a clash between two groups of Bihari migrant workers while the clip from Coimbatore is a clash between local Tamil people.
— Tamil Nadu Police (@tnpoliceoffl) March 2, 2023
The police claim that the clip has nothing to do with attacks on migrant workers. Alt News could not independently verify the clip.
Police debunked these two videos by quote-tweeting Tanvir’s tweet.
VIDEO #3: Man stabbed to death
The user who shared the clip wrote in Hindi, “For the first time I am seeing such oppression on Hindi-speaking people in Tamil Nadu. Keep in mind that there is a coalition government of DMK and Congress in Tamil Nadu.”
In this clip, we see a man in a blue shirt stab another man while bystanders try to stop him. He holds back once but resumes stabbing. The attacker also attempts to crush the face of the victim using a rock.
We broke down the video into key-frames and performed a Google reverse image search. This led us to a site where gory videos are shared by users. The same clip was available on the site which gave us a clue to the incident.
Taking note of these details, we performed a keyword search and came across a report by the Times of India published on February 19. As per this report, the viral clip is from Jodhpur, Rajasthan where a lawyer was stabbed to death by individuals who were allegedly accused in an accident case in which the lawyer’s son had died. This report carried CCTV footage of the incident.
Hence, an unrelated clip of an attack on a lawyer in Rajasthan was falsely shared as visuals of an attack on migrant workers in Tamil Nadu.
VIDEO #4: Man attacked with sickle and rod
In this clip, we see three individuals attacking a man. One of the men holds the victim while the other two hit him repeatedly with a rod and a sickle. The video has been recorded from a moving auto-rickshaw.
We broke down the video into key-frames and performed a Google reverse image search. This led us to a report by ETV Bharat published on January 22, 2023. According to this report, the viral clip is from Hyderabad’s Jiyaguda bypass near Puranapool. The victim was identified as Jangam Sainath (32) of Esamiya Bazaar, Koti.
On January 23, Siasat Daily reported that the three accused Akash, Tillu and Sonu were arrested. The report also adds that a preliminary investigation revealed that they were drunk and a fight led to the gruesome killing.
Hence, a video of a murder of an individual in Hyderabad was falsely shared as an attack on migrant workers in Tamil Nadu.
VIDEO #5: Man killed with axe and sickle
In this clip, we see four men kill a man with an axe and a sickle. The victim was also carrying a gun which he takes out but during the tussle the attacker snatches it from him.
Sharing this clip, a user wrote in Hindi, “A Bihari brother was mercilessly thrashed to death in Tamil Nadu and yet the Nitish government is silent, this government only cares about power.”
Alt News has fact-checked this clip in the past when it was viral with a communal spin. In reality, gangster Anwar Shaikh alias ‘Tiger’ was killed at Karatagi Cross, Savanur, Karnataka on August 8, 2021.
The police later arrested the accused, Imran Chowdhary (28), Tanveer Chowdhary (24), Abir Chowdhary (22), and Rehan Chowdhary (20), all of whom were residents of Savanur town, Haveri district, Karnataka. Read the full Alt News report here.
In summary, five clips were shared on social media as attacks on migrant workers in Tamil Nadu. Alt News could independently verify and prove that four of these clips are unrelated to the recent developments in the state.
This article was originally published on Alt News.