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partly true



The alleged COVID-19 toolkit was created on a forged letterhead.

Although the primary document is publicly unavailable, discrepancies in the scanned copy imply that it may have been fabricated.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra shared a document allegedly prepared by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and accused Congress of demeaning the government run by the BJP. The document was shared in two parts – four pages of a COVID-19 "toolkit" and four research pages related to the Central Vista project.

The hashtag #CongressToolKitExposed began trending on social media, and top BJP leaders criticized Congress by sharing the document that contained anti-government content related to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. It allegedly urged Congress workers and supporters to use the term "Modi strain," "super spreader Kumbh," and use dramatic images of funerals and dead bodies to malign the government's image. While also asking them not to "comment on Eid gatherings," "respond to COVID-19 SOS messages only if a person tags the IYC handle."

However, Congress dismissed the allegations and said that the document had been forged. AICC chairmen and spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said that the four pages of research paper on the Central Vista project is genuine and fact-based, and the other four pages of the alleged document purporting to be AICC's is "forged."

Examining the COVID-19 toolkit images compared to the Central Vista project, discrepancies in the format of the alleged COVID-19 document can be observed. The text fonts used are different, the numbering format does not match, and the references at the footer in the COVID-19 toolkit are not aligned aptly.

There is no clarity on how or from where the BJP leaders acquired these documents. Only screenshots or scanned copies of four pages of the alleged COVID-19 toolkit are available. Presently, the full version of the actual document which the BJP shared is not publicly available. In an interview, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra held a copy of what he claimed was the Congress' COVID-19 toolkit. However, the contents of the documents could not be seen in the clippings.

Further, Congress pointed out that the metadata of the Central Vista document shared by Patra is authentic while the metadata of the alleged forged document is unavailable.

Indian Youth Congress has filed a first information report (FIR) against Patra for "circulating a fake and forged document with intent to defame."

Twitter also flagged Patra's toolkit tweet as "manipulated media" after Congress filed a complaint with them. However, Twitter's policy on 'manipulated media' mainly depends on feedbacks and complaints, India Today noted, and it did not elucidate the process adopted to determine content manipulation in this case. The investigation on the alleged toolkit is ongoing.

Although the full version of the primary document is publicly unavailable and raises questions over its credibility, the discrepancies in the scanned copy do imply that it may have been fabricated. Hence we mark the claim as partly true and will update with new development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.

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