Even as YSR Congress Party President YS Jaganmohan Reddy entered Vijayawada as part of his 'Praja Sankalpa Padayatra', supporters of his party began spreading a fake video on social media.
The video which shows eight policemen thrashing three civilians on a motor cycle, was shared on pro-YSRCP Facebook pages suggesting that it was the Vijayawada police which was assaulting party cadre from reaching the venue in the city.
"Police assault against innocent people heading to Jagan’s meeting in Vijayawada following the warrant by (Chandra) Babu," the accompanying message stated.
The Suryaraopet and Satyanarayana Puram police stations registered two cases against the administrators of Facebook pages and later told reporters that the original video was shot during the 'Bharath Bandh' in Uttar Pradesh.
The Suryaraopet police booked a case against one Facebook page titled 'The Leader', whose administrators were reportedly identified as Syam Kalakada, Anil Kumar Reddy Yarrabhoomi, Teja, Praveen Reddy and Pratap Reddy Mukundapuram. They were later detained.
The police suspect that the video originated from this particular Facebook page, before it spread to other pro-YSRCP outlets.
Based on a complaint, the police have booked a case under Sections 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups), 469 (Forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 471 (Using as genuine, a forged document or electronic record) and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
In August last year, the Kuppam circle police in Andhra Pradesh took a man into custody, charging him of posting objectionable content on Facebook against Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
The arrest came less than a week after the Chittoor police arrested 30-year-old Basavaraju from Kaliganuru village of Santhipuram mandal, for morphing pictures of Naidu and Andhra IT Minister Nara Lokesh.
The accused was reportedly running a page titled 'YSRCP unofficial' and was also spreading content on WhatsApp.
Basavaraju was booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 355 (criminal force with intent to dishonour person), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) of the IPC.