Criticising the Centre for issuing Income Tax (I-T) notices to several Durga Puja committees here, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday announced that her party would stage a sit-in at Subodh Mullick Sqaure in Kolkata on Tuesday with the demand of exempting festivals from levies.
“The Income Tax Dept has issued notices to many committees who organise Durga pujos, asking them to pay taxes. We are proud of all our national festivals… These festivals are for all and we do not want any pujo festival to be taxed. This will be a burden on the organisers,” she tweeted on Sunday.
Referring to Ganga Sagar mela, the chief minister said her government had withdrawn tax on the annual festival.
“#Bangla govt withdrew tax, which was earlier there, on Ganga Sagar Mela. We protest and demand ‘no taxation on Durga pujo and Durga pujo committees’,” she wrote on twitter and facebook.
The CM urged people to join the August 13 protest at Subodh Mallik Square in the city.
“The Trinamool Congress Banga Janani Wing will sit on a dharna on Tuesday August 13 at Subodh Mallik Square (Opp Hind Cinema) 10am-6pm. Organisers, participants and all people who love #Bangla may please join,” she added.
It is not the first time the chief minister has raised her voice against this. On July 22, Banerjee had criticised the BJP-led NDA government for sending I-T notices to Durga Puja committees and said religious festivals should be exempted from income tax.
In January, the I-T department had sent notices to over 20 Durga Puja committees of Kolkata. Recently, other Puja committees were reportedly sent I-T notices.