Manipulated media means a photograph, video or screenshot through which there is doubt about the authenticity of the claims being made and its original form is edited or tampered with.
All this happened on a claim of BJP in which many BJP leaders including concerned Patra accused the opposition Congress party of destroying the image of the Modi government through a toolkit on the Covid-19 epidemic.
To understand this whole matter, we first know what happened three days ago.
On May 18, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra and BJP general secretary BL Santosh tweeted screenshots of two separate four-page documents. One of these documents was about the Covid-19 and the other was about the Central Vista project.
These tweets claimed that this is the toolkit of the Congress and the Congress has prepared this toolkit to discredit the Modi government regarding the Corona epidemic in the country.
It was alleged that through this toolkit, the party told its volunteers and activists that they used words like ‘Super Spreader Kumbh’ and ‘Modi strain’ for the mutant strain of the virus, to defame the Modi government. Use it on social media, but Eid has to be presented as ‘Happy Social Gathering’.
Congress accused of spoiling Modi’s image
The BJP leader also accused the Congress that the party contacted its people seeking help on social media and asked them to tag the handle of the Congress, and to help only after doing so.
According to the claims, many more such things have been written in these four-page document.
These tweets and screenshots were tweeted by several BJP leaders and party supporters, including Sambit Patra, with the #CongressToolkitExposed hashtag.
Not only this, many central leaders of BJP like Smriti Irani, Dr. Harshvardhan, Piyush Goyal, Kiren Rijiju also tweeted on May 18 with this hashtag.
Sambit Patra and BL Santosh, who tweeted ‘Covid-19 Mismanagement Toolkit’ while stating of Congress, were prepared on the letterhead of All India Congress Committee (AICC) Research Department.
On May 18, Congress Research Department head Rajiv Gowda tweeted and said, “BJP is spreading fake ‘toolkit’ in the name of Congress Research Department on ‘Covid-19 mismanagement’. FIR against Patra. “
The Congress has filed a complaint against Sambit Patra, BL Santosh, Jopi Nadda, Smriti Irani and other BJP leaders.
A day later, on May 19, Sambit Patra said in a press conference that Soumya Verma is the man who produced this document. He asked the question “Congress tell me who is Soumya Verma?”
To tell that Saumya Verma works with Congress, Sambit Patra has shared the metadata of the document containing Central Vista on social media, in which Soumya Verma’s name is replaced by the name of the author of the document.
After this, he shared pictures of Soumya Verma taken with Rajiv Gowda and Rahul Gandhi and his linkin account.
It was informed in the bio of this account that Soumya works for Rajiv Dev Gowda.
Covid-19 toolkit we did not even create: Congress
The BBC spoke to Rajiv Gowda, the head of the Congress Research Department, on this issue.
He told that “The document that is being talked about on Central Vista has been created by our team which leaked to the BJP. But the toolkit that has been made about Covid-19 is completely fake.”
“We have never made such a document. When there is such a big crisis in the country and how much is there to be done, BJP is not doing that to discredit the work done by the Youth Congress and diverts the attention of the people from the original issues.” .
He said, “Saumya Verma is part of our team and has created a research document on Central Vista which is mentioned by Sambit Patra in his tweet. But the allegation that he has made a toolkit about Covid-19 is absolutely wrong. It does not belong to the Congress. “
Rajiv Gowda shared with the BBC the prepared document of Congress on Central Vista. On reading the document, it was found that this entire document is not four but six pages but the BJP leader has shared only four pages of it.
On extracting its metadata, we got the same information that Sambit Patra shared. Soumya Verma is the creator of this document and it was made on May 7, 2021.
But the thing to note is that Sambit Patra has also mentioned the name of Soumya Verma in the information of the Central Vista project.
Covid-19 Toolkit is most talked about on social media, but BJP or related Patra has not given any information about it till now. That is, a person named Soumya Verma has created a document on Central Vista, but who has created the ‘Covid Mismanagement Toolkit’ is not yet known.
So BJP shared a fake toolkit?
The second important thing is that the documents that are being shared on Central Vista by sharing the toolkit, are not actually a toolkit but a research document that talks about the damage caused by the Central Vista project.
While the toolkit is actually a document in which action points are given, how to proceed on an issue.
Another big difference that falsifies BJP’s shared Covid-19 toolkit is that BJP has shared two documents with four screenshots, one titled – Central Vista Redevelopment and the other titled Cornering Modi. And BJP on Covid Mismanagement.
Both documents have been prepared on the letterhead of the All India Congress Committee Research Department.
But when we combine this letterhead with the letterhead of a given document from Congress, the letterhead of the Central Vista document resembles it, but the letterhead font on the toolkit of Covid Mismanagement is quite different from the original letterhead. Seeing this clearly shows that it has been tampered with.
There is also an important thing that related Patra and BJP leaders have shared only the screenshots of the two documents shared by the Congress-made toolkit, not their PDF or world file. In this case, its metadata could not be extracted and the author could not be detected.
In such a situation, the document that the BJP has shared on Covid-19 mismanagement on social media proves false on many levels.
But who has prepared it exactly, the exact answer has not been found yet.