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Explainers

Manish Kashyap: The Newly Inducted BJP Member Once Spread Misinformation

YouTuber Manish Kashyap spent nine months in jail for circulating 'fake videos' of Bihari migrants being attacked in Tamil Nadu.

By - Hera Rizwan | 26 April 2024 11:56 AM GMT

Manish Kashyap, the YouTuber from Bihar who was arrested, last year, over spreading 'fake videos' concerning attacks on Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu, has now joined the BJP. He expressed that his decision to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party was influenced by his mother's encouragement.

Manoj Tiwari, Delhi MP for the BJP, witnessed Kashyap's induction into the party. "NSA was slapped on me but now I have not only been granted bail but all charges are cleared now. NSA is also withdrawn...my fight against those who defame Sanatan will continue," Kashyap said.

Tiwari also said that he has known Kashyap for a long time and that the BJP respects people like him who raise issues about the poor.

Kashyap's role is spreading misinformation

In March last year, the Bihar Police's Economic Offence Unit (EOU) filed an FIR against Kashyap regarding the dissemination of a fabricated video purportedly depicting attacks on Bihari migrants in Tamil Nadu. This false video had caused distress among Bihari migrant workers in the region.

On his YouTube channel, Sachtak News, Kashyap had posted two videos and four videos on his personal Facebook page claiming that Bihari workers in Tamil Nadu were being attacked. Following the filing of the FIR, Kashyap absconded but was apprehended a week later. Prior to his arrest, the EOU froze Rs 42.11 lakh in his bank accounts.

The bogey of Bihar migrants “under attack” in Tamil Nadu was spread widely on social media via unrelated videos laced with misinformation. BOOM had found seven such videos which were being shared to further the false narrative.

For instance, one video depicted two men stabbing a lawyer in Rajasthan, while another captured an old bike rally from Assam. A third video showcased a homicide in Karnataka, and a fourth portrayed the brutal killing of a Tamil man in Coimbatore.

Across these instances, the captions accompanying the videos on social media suggested that these acts were targeted "attacks" on Hindi-speaking migrants in Tamil Nadu. 

Kashyap, among others, was deemed the accused in spreading the misinformation. He faced charges under multiple penal codes as per police statements. A delegation from the Bihar government, comprising four members, conducted an investigation in Tamil Nadu. Upon their return, they reported to the Bihar Chief Minister's Office that the alleged videos of attacks on Bihari migrants were indeed fabricated.

The Bihar Police had registered 13 cases while the Tamil Nadu Police booked him in nine cases in connection with the rumours.

Apart from these, the Lok Sabha candidate also made videos which were often rants against Bollywood actors, laced with Islamophobia. His social media has several photos of him with several celebrities and politicians. Some of his photos on Facebook are with BJP leader and Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Bihar IPS officer Vikash Vaibhav, IRS officer Samir Wankhede (who had hit the headlines in Aryan Khan arrest in the drugs case), Bhojpuri actor Khesarilal Yadav and Bihar politician Tej Pratap Yadav.

Other controversies around Kashyap

Kashyap has been shrouded in controversies even before that. In 2019, he faced his initial FIR for purportedly collecting unlawful funds by posting a solicitation message on social media. Subsequently, additional FIRs were filed against him for allegedly jeopardising a police officer's life and endorsing vandalism following the defacement of a statue of King Edward VII at Maharani Janki Kunwar Hospital in West Champaran district.

Also in 2019, police apprehended him for involvement in an assault on Kashmiri shopkeepers in Patna subsequent to the Pulwama terror incident.

In 2020, he made an unsuccessful bid as an Independent candidate in the Chanpatia Assembly election, and finished third behind the BJP and Congress candidates. In his election affidavit, he had written that if he fails to fulfil promises made to people, they can lodge a police complaint against him.

In 2021, the West Champaran police had also seized his ancestral residence in Dumri Mahanwa village following allegations that he had threatened the manager of the State Bank of India's Paras Pakri branch at that time.

In the misinformation case, Kashyap was granted bail after nine months in December 2023. Following his surrender, the Tamil Nadu police had taken custody of the YouTuber, who was then transferred to Madurai jail, where he remained for over four months. In August, he was relocated to Bihar and presented before a court in Bettiah, which subsequently remanded him to Beur jail in Patna.

Talking to reporters after his release, Kashyap had said, “I had raised issues of unemployment and migration and had nothing to do with those purported videos. I was maligned by the media as well, but I had full faith in the judiciary.”