Monday, 30th October 2017

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Mamata slams Durga Puja tax

Bengal CM says it was the Narendra Modi government’s attempt to 'harass' Puja committees

  • Published 23.07.19, 2:05 AM
  • Updated 23.07.19, 2:05 AM
  • a min read
Mamata at an event in Calcutta on Thursday. (Pradip Sanyal)

Mamata Banerjee on Monday criticised the Centre over income tax notices to several Durga Puja organisers in Bengal, asserting that those who held such religious events should not be taxed and accused the BJP of insulting the festival.

“When the elections come, they get busy in communal politics. A festival is always a festival. I will simply say if a party uses funds for elections, that is not under income tax. Funds used by the Puja committees should not come under income tax,” the chief minister told a news conference at Nabanna on Monday.

In January, Mamata had instructed Puja committees not to furnish information sought by the Income Tax department, saying it was the Narendra Modi government’s attempt to “harass” them.

On Monday, Mamata said everybody in Bengal observed the festival and it was a “global wonder”.

She said Durga Puja was not a commercial event but a social function and those paying subscriptions or sponsorships for the festival had already paid their taxes.

“This (funds used by Puja committees) is a donation given by the public. I condemn this attitude of bringing the Puja committees under income tax. This is an insult to the Puja. This is a community programme. The way they are being harassed, I feel sad,” she said.

“Governments have a social obligation towards such programmes and cannot take income tax from these,” Mamata added.

She derided the BJP over the move despite its focus on Hindu nationalism.