News clip about Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s sister accusing him of assault is fake

By: Rohith Gutta
January 29 2024

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News clip about Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s sister accusing him of assault is fake

Screenshot of a social media post claiming that Y. S. Sharmila alleged that her brother and Andhra Pradesh CM, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, had assaulted her.(Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The news clip is fabricated. Y.S. Sharmila made no such allegations against Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Way2News, too, clarified that the clip is fake.

Claim ID e5ca4b94

(Trigger Warning: This story contains distressing mentions of assault. Reader discretion is advised.)

What is the claim?

A purported screenshot of a news report by Hyderabad-based mobile news application Way2News is circulating online with the claim that allegations of assault have been leveled against Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (popularly known as Jagan), chief minister of the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, by his sister and Congress leader Y.S. Sharmila. The purported news report claims that according to Sharmila, who was recently appointed as the president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), Jagan had assaulted her in the past in the presence of their mother.  

The title of the purported Telugu article reads, “Jagan held me by the throat and smashed me on the wall on that day — Y S Sharmila (translated).” The purported article claims that while speaking to the media at the APCC office on January 26, Sharmila said that people once very close to her are now spreading rumors about her in the Telugu daily Sakshi (a newspaper owned by Jagan’s family). The text in the screenshot also claimed that once, when Sharmila had approached Jagan to ask for her share in the ancestral property, he had grabbed her by the throat and smashed her against a wall. Their mother also witnessed the alleged incident, the text claimed. Archived versions of posts sharing the purported news report can be viewed here, here, here, and here

Screenshot of the viral social media post (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

Y.S. Sharmila had merged the YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP)—the party she founded in July 2021 after parting ways with her brother-led YSR Congress Party (YSRCP)— with the Indian National Congress on January 4. 

However, the claim about Sharmila accusing her brother and Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan of assault is false. Way2News did not publish such a news report, nor did the Congress politician make such allegations. 

What did we find?

We found several discrepancies in the purported Way2News screenshot shared in the viral posts. The font of the text in the screenshot differs from the one used by Way2News in their reports. The viral screenshot also lists no date and time of the publication of the news report, unlike how Way2News usually carries these details. 

Way2News also usually carries hyperlinks to the respective news story below the main image of the article, which then directs readers to their mobile application. However, the link on the viral screenshot takes one to a story about nicknames of famous personalities published by the Way2News web application on March 21, 2023. The story title, in Telugu, reads, “GK: Sobriquets of famous personalities.” It lists the names of various persons, such as Chittaranjan Das, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Rabindranath Tagore, and others, along with their nicknames.

On opening the link on a web browser, it redirected us to a warning page by Way2News cautioning readers against falling for fake screenshots and sharing them as genuine. The link opens to a fact-checking page launched by Way2News, allowing readers to enter the ‘article ID’ at the end of the URL and verify whether the application published such a news article.

Comparison between the fake article and an original Way2News report.(Source: X/Way2News/Screenshots)

We also contacted Way2News to determine if the outlet had published the purported news report. The organization clarified that it had never published such an article and that it was “false news being circulated in their name.”

What did Sharmila say at the press meet?

We found that Sharmila’s image used in the purported screenshot was taken when she interacted with the media on January 26. Telugu news channel TV5 News uploaded a video of Sharmila’s statement to the press after concluding Republic Day celebrations on its YouTube channel.

When asked about using the family title ‘Y.S.’ in her name after parting ways with her brother and his, Sharmila responds, “People who were once very close to me are now spreading rumors about me in Sakshi newspaper.” She added that she had participated in the walkathon held by Jagan ahead of the 2019 state assembly elections at his request and not because she wanted to. “I have carried out the walkathon selflessly. Never have I ever asked the chief minister (Jagan) for any favors after that. Our mother was the witness to this.” In the original statement, she makes no mention of any assault, as claimed in the viral post.

The verdict

A fabricated news clip is shared to claim that APCC President Y.S. Sharmila accused her brother and Andhra Pradesh CM, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, of assaulting her in the past. Therefore, we have marked this claim as fake. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before