West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday hit out at the Income Tax authorities for declining that they had served IT notices to Durga Puja committees in Kolkata and said the statement is aimed at creating confusion among the people.
Her comments came after the Central Board of Direct Taxes said in a statement that media reports about issuance of Income Tax notices to Durga Puja committees in Kolkata this year were not true.
"I have come to know just now that CBDT has issued a Press Release clarifying regarding notices to Durga Puja Committees for puja tax, which is popularly known as 'Puja Jijia Tax'," Banerjee said in a Facebook post.
Jijia used to be a tax levied on non-Muslims under certain Muslim rulers of India.
In the press release, the CBDT has made certain claims which themselves prove that they are factually incorrect, the Trinamool Congress supremo claimed.
"CBDT clarification that no notices have been issued for this year makes little sense. It is only obvious that for pujas held this year, notices will only be issued next year, which is as per their scheme of tax assessment. So, the clarification itself proves that the imposition of tax very much stands. Then, why misleading?," she said.
The Press Release is a sheer distortion of facts with an aim to create confusion in the minds of local people and puja committees and cause mental tension, Banerjee alleged.
"This is also an attack on our culture and on our Durga Puja festival. I do not know whether this is being done knowingly or unknowingly, but it is certainly of bad taste, especially when people of all religions, caste, creed participate in our Durga Puja, which is just like a national festival. Any such taxation should be totally withdrawn and the festival should be allowed to be celebrated with its usual fervour," she said.