The news of attacks on Bihari workers in Tamil Nadu has turned out to be false.
As we know now, a person from Jharkhand, living in Tamil Nadu, created a ‘fake video’ appearing to depict violence against himself and circulated it with the desire to become famous. He is an individual who was playing a dangerous game. He was fabricating a lie hoping that his people would believe it because of their already existing prejudices against Tamils. Some live in a culture of lies and think that it is perfectly okay to lie if it gets them some benefit.
The person is in jail now. But the people who are responsible for the spread of this culture of lies are free.
We need to say that those who spread this false story all over the country were mainly leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party from various states. Also active were the Hindi media platforms who published this news prominently. They can also be treated as part of the larger Hindutva network of which BJP is the leader.
Along with the rumours of attacks, the news that Bihari workers are fleeing Tamil Nadu due to fear of violence has also proved to be false. It was found that like every year, this year too on the occasion of Holi, they were going to their homes to celebrate the festival. We should all thank Mohammed Zubair of Alt News for busting this fake news. Single handedly, he prevented possible violence due to this rumour.
Several News Channels and Social media handles have made it look it people of Bihar are living in War Zone Tamilnadu, Sharing a few video bites of Migrant Workers from Bihar staying and working on Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu. CC : @bihar_police @tnpoliceoffl @krishnagirismc pic.twitter.com/OysakhsY9F
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) March 4, 2023
In addition to creating violence, the fake news had the potential of increasing suspicion and distance between the Tamil and Hindi regions. Due to the alertness of fact-checkers like Zubair, we have been saved. Zubair has, in the process, snatched a weapon from the hands of BJP and Hindutva to spread hatred against Tamil Nadu.
One would have expected that newspapers and other mass media thereafter launch criticism against BJP leaders for their irresponsible rumour mongering. That they ask their readers and viewers to be careful when the BJP tells them something. But this was not done. Instead, the media put out general advice for all political parties to work together for the safety of workers from other states in Tamil Nadu. It is everyone’s job to allay their fears, they said. A journalist even asked how the Tamil Nadu government would be able to manage this ‘crisis’.
Who can object to this assertion that in any part of India it is everyone’s responsibility to provide a sense of safety and hospitality to people from other parts of the country or the world?
But that is not the issue now. BJP leaders and platforms created suspicion and hatred against Tamils by spreading false news of violence against Biharis. Due to these rumours, fear spread. Many labourers claimed they had heard about violence even if they themselves had not experienced it. This means that the false rumours did have their effect.
The Bihar government was also accused of conniving with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister while Biharis were being killed in Tamil Nadu. This was an outright lie. But the BJP kept repeating it.
Isn’t what the BJP did an anti-national act?
Even after the false news was busted, the suspicion that has arisen among a large section will not go away easily. Many people will still refuse to believe that all it was, was a rumour. Their reasoning would be that if there is smoke, there must be fire somewhere. There must be some truth in this news, they will think. They will show you old videos of Tamil Nadu leaders in which they are seen mocking Hindi speaking people. The videos must be criticised, but what does the present spread of fake news have to do with it? Can it be justified by saying that the rumours are a response to the earlier speeches of the Tamil leaders?
There will always be people saying that if Mohammed Zubair has busted the fake news, there must be some truth in them – as Zubair cannot be trusted! There would also be people who would particularly like to believe this fake news because it reinforces their own anti-Tamil prejudices. So, the fake news will have a life of its own.
That is why the damage done by the people of BJP is very deep.
It is a conspiracy to divide this country into antagonistic groups. Not only Bihar, but people of Hindi-speaking states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. will also develop a suspicion against Tamil Nadu. This act of the BJP should therefore be kept in the category of most heinous crimes.
After such an act, BJP can justifiably be called a party of those who want to divide India into a thousand pieces. This is not the first act of BJP to create suspicion and hatred among the people of India. A few days ago we heard the Union home minister of the country speaking in Karnataka. He was asking his audience to be careful about Kerala, their neighbouring state.
In Karnataka, during Amit Shah’s speech, he said "Kerala is Karnataka’s neighbourhood & I don’t need to say more that". What was Amit Shah implying with this comment? What is wrong with Kerala?: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (12/02) pic.twitter.com/kUMkMMteXz
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2023
This attempt to create hatred towards Kerala in the Hindi speaking regions of India is disgusting. But Shah is not the only BJP leader to do so. During the Uttar Pradesh elections, BJP leaders said that Uttar Pradesh has to be saved from becoming “Kerala, Bengal and Tamil Nadu and that’s why it is very important to bring BJP to power.” Only the BJP can keep the danger of Kerala away from Karnataka and states like Uttar Pradesh.
The hatred that Amit Shah was spreading towards Kerala through his speech has been instilled in the people to such an extent that when the state was battling the devastation of floods, the Hindutvavadis were asking people to not give any kind of help to it. We heard people say: ‘Let them die, God has punished the Keralites for eating beef’. The people of Kerala, especially Muslims, were projected as terrorists.
Another similar case is that of hatred towards Jammu and Kashmir with the source again being the BJP or the RSS. Violence against Kashmiri people in the Hindi-speaking areas now does not make it to the front pages.
Why is hatred for Tamil Nadu or Kerala spreading in places like Uttar Pradesh? To show that there is not enough ‘Indianness’ in these territories. Since they refuse to accept Hindi imposition, hatred is instilled against them among Hindi speakers.
It is the duty of Hindi speaking people to keep BJP in power to spread ‘Indianness’ in states like Tamil Nadu. Hindi people also believe that Tamil Nadu’s non-acceptance of Hindi is an anti-India act. Ending this ‘anti-Indianness’ is nationalism, therefore the rule of the BJP is necessary, goes the argument.
The BJP’s propaganda of alienation towards these states is part of the BJP’s larger politics of hatred. The basis of Hindutva politics is hatred and that too mainly against Muslims and Christians. But in order to make hatred the nature of our people, it becomes necessary to find new objects of hatred and if necessary, to create them. To make this hatred permanent, lies have to be created continuously through which it can be justified. That is why this new lie was created.
This lie not only spread hatred, it could have resulted in real physical violence. Though slightly late, Tamil Nadu Police has filed cases against BJP leaders for spreading suspicion and enmity among communities. But you can expect people to preach immediately that the Tamil Nadu Police should not take revengeful action against the BJP leaders. The hatred and false propaganda of the BJP has been accepted as its political right.
Unless we reject this politics of hate, BJP will continue to attack us with its hatred again and again. The need of the hour is to speak openly and unambiguously against the BJP politics of hatred without ifs and buts.