There are media reports of hate attacks against Hindi-speaking migrant laborers, mostly from Bihar, working in Tamil Nadu which are said to have claimed over a dozen lives. Although TN Police has dismissed these as rumours, panic-stricken laborers returning to Bihar have a different story to tell.
As per Dainik Bhaskar, several laborers from Jamui district have corroborated these attacks in which they say 15 deaths have occurred. As a result, panic has gripped the Hindi-speaking migrant worker population in TN and they are returning home in droves.
Arman, a laborer from Jamui district returning along with 20 other workers, spoke to Dainik Bhaskar from aboard a train (he is currently in transit). When told that the Tamil Nadu DGP has denied these reports, he said that if nothing has happened than why are dead bodies returning to Bihar (as per him, bodies have returned to Jamui, Nawada and Lakhisarai districts), and how are these attacks happening? He claimed that even in the train, the migrant workers are being forced to get up from their general bogey berths.
A friend of his was attacked yesterday and 4 fingers chopped off in front of him because he was Hindi-speaking, Arman alleged. He claimed that 12 laborers were hung to death in one room, and total 15 deaths have occurred thus far.
Another laborer Shravan Kumar, who returned 2 days back, said that the situation is very bad in TN and Biharis are being stabbed. “Locals want us to return to Bihar, accusing us of taking their employment…they are stabbing us wherever they see us, and our employers and local administration are of no help. We were very scared”, he adds.
Rohit Kumar, who returned today from Tiruppur, said, “The situation of Hindi speakers in Tamil Nadu is very bad. They want to drive Hindi speakers out. 14 people have been killed”. Pramod Kumar from Jamui said, “Locals claim they don’t have work so they are angry and driving us out. Hindi speakers are being assaulted.”
A laborer Sonu told Bhaskar that the attacks are occurring in Tiruppur and Shivkot (SIPCOT?) industrial areas, where migrants are scared to even step outside their homes but police and administration are not happening.
The Dainik Bhaskar report adds that both Tamil Nadu and Bihar Police have refuted all videos circulating on this issue. Tamil Nadu DGP said that everything is normal in the state, but the fleeing laborers disagree.
As per one laborer, the entire matter started when local workers asked the migrants to work for increased daily wage of Rs. 1000-1200, whereas the migrants had already committed to Rs 800 per day to their companies and some had taken advance as well.
What has added fuel to fire in Bihar is the fact the deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav had flown down to celebrate TN CM Stalin’s birthday on Wednesday. Yadav sharing the stage and celebrating with Stalin has not gone down well with people of Bihar, who are hearing such horror stories from workers fleeing back home.
An ABP report says that many videos are going viral in which Hindi-speaking laborers are making appeals for help. The videos claim that Hindi-speaking laborers are being assaulted on the roads and inside trains.
ABP spoke to Kanchan Ravidas, a migrant worker who has returned from Tamil Nadu 5 days back. Kanchan said that the contractors told all Hindi-speakers to flee, and refused to give them work. He said that they should be given some notice, if companies don’t want them to work anymore. Some goons there are stabbing and assaulting people on the roads without remorse – it looks like they are assaulting animals, not humans.
He also claimed that over 10 ten people have been murdered. Police and administration are not helping and no FIR has been lodged. Even the media does nothing after visiting the site of incidents. He added that the lady workers have thus far not been attacked.
It requires a serious investigation to probe into this exodus. While it is likely that allegations of over a dozen murders are exaggerated, there is definitely a concerted hate campaign against Hindi-speakers in Tamil Nadu, which is causing these poor laborers to flee.
Here are some disturbing incidents that have taken place which have contributed to insecurity of non-Tamils working in the southern state –
West Bengal laborer mistaken as a thief lynched to death in TN
Tamil Nadu: Video Of Man Assaulting And Verbally Abusing Hindi Speaking Migrant Workers In Train Emerges
We have also been cases of violence between Tamils and non-Tamils over minor issues being spun into ‘attacks on Tamils’ by Dravidianists.
The entire episode is reminiscent of the 2012 exodus of citizens from North-East states like Assam from Bengaluru and other Karnataka cities, after they received threats via bulk SMS and other means of impending attacks during Ramzan. That campaign was orchestrated by Islamists in response to the 2012 communal violence in Assam.
In Tamil Nadu, the hateful Dravidianist rhetoric against Uttar Bharatiyas (North Indians) in general and Hindi-speakers in particular has gone up a notch ever since the DMK was sworn into power. As HinduPost reported recently –
“The North-South divide has widened after DMK came to power with ministers and other influential people repeatedly speaking against non-Tamils. Last year, the DMK government’s Revenue Minister advised Tamil Nadu Traders Association members to “get rid of North Indian traders”. “Only Tamil traders should do business in TN. People from other states or countries should not do business here”, he said.
“Public Works Department Minister EV Velu also talked along the same lines saying, “Laborers from North Indian states should not become dominant in the field. TN’s economy will improve only when Tamils are employed” while addressing builders and contractors in an event. Earlier when there was a threat of reemergence of Covid-19 virus, Health Minister Ma Subramanian alleged that North Indian students studying in the state were spreading the virus resulting in high number of positives in the state.“
And the hateful rhetoric from DMK ally VCK and MP Thol Thirumavalavan is even more poisonous –
BJP trying to enter T.N. through ‘settlers’ from other States, says VCK
“Brahmins in north India are rowdies”: VCK chief Thol. Thirumavalavan
The Dravidianist hate against Uttar Bharatiyas has also taken root in Tamil movies and popular culture.