A fake newspaper clipping is being shared on social media with a false and communal claim that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee led West Bengal Government has waived off Goods and Services Tax (GST) for Muslim businessmen.
BOOM found that the West Bengal government has not exempt Muslim businessmen from paying GST. West Bengal's Minority Affairs Minster Md Ghulam Rabbani also rubbished the claim when BOOM reached out for comment.
The viral photo shows a Hindi news report titled, "GST for Muslim businessmen waived off. Mamata's Government will pay the GST."
(Original text in Hindi: "मुस्लिम व्यापारियों का GST माफ़ GST भरेगी ममता सरकार")
The report further claims, "Mamata Banerjee government has taken a big decision in West Bengal. Mamata government believed that GST has spelled doom for Muslim businessmen therefore whatever tax the Muslim traders have to give, will be paid by the government which means the tax of Muslim businessmen has been waived off. The Muslim population in Bengal is 35%..in such case forming or dissolving a government is in their hands. Mamata government's decision proves that Bengal has become an Islamic state."
The image has been widely shared on Facebook. Caption of once such post reads, "Don't know truth but if true this is dangerous #GST #PmModi"
The image has also shared on Twitter with the same claim.
An archive of one of the tweets can be viewed here.
BOOM ran a keywords search on Google to check whether West Bengal Government has announced any order announcing a GST exemption for Muslim businessmen. However, we did not find any such order or news article stating the same.
BOOM reached to Md Ghulam Rabbani, the state's cabinet Minister for Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education who rubbished the claim. Rabbani is a Member of West Bengal Legislative Assembly elected from Goalpokhar, North Dinajpur district.
"Government of West Bengal under Honourable CM Mamata Banerjee serves every citizen, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed or ethnicity. The so called viral news is baseless and fake and handiwork of BJP IT cell workers to show hatred against one community," Md Ghulam Rabbani's office told BOOM.
West Bengal Finance Minster Chandrima Bhattacharya on March 11, 2022 had presented ₹3.21-lakh crores budget for the financial year 2022-23. The budget proposed an exemption on registration fee and road taxes for two years from the financial year 2022-23 for battery operated electric vehicles and Compressed Natural (CNG) vehicles. Also it has proposed exempted tax for the tea industry, tea estates and workers from paying rural employment cess, education cess and the agricultural income tax for the next financial year.
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