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Like Hindu temples, exempt churches from Income Tax as well: Shantaram

Hitting out at the Centre, Rajya Sabha MP, Shantaram Naik has expressed surprise that the government should selectively target Goan churches by demanding from them information regarding the number of ` 500 and ` 1,000 held by them on the closing day of November 8.

28th November 2016, 05:54 Hrs

PANAJI: 
 In a statement issued on Sunday, Naik said that if Hindu temples, which are governed under the Mahajan Act in  force in Goa, are exempted under Income Tax Act, then similar  exemptions should also be given to the churches in the State.   
According to the Congress leader, the Archdiocese of Goa, to whom the notice have been served, controls over 160 churches in the State, and it is practically impossible for it to collect information from all churches functioning from Pernem taluka in the north to Canacona taluka in the south. He also said that church authorities in the state feel that they are being targeted selectively, while pointing out that institutions belonging to other communities have been spared.  
“It appears that BJP is taking revenge against the minority community in Goa as reports are coming in that some members of the minority community who had supported BJP in the 2012 Assembly elections have realised that BJP is strongly against minority communities throughout India. 
Leaders of organisations close to BJP are spreading venom against key members of Christians and Muslim communities,” stated Naik.  
Naik also said that the MLAs of Goa, more particularly belonging to  minority communities, should question the State BJP government and demand  that the state government should take up the matter with the Union Finance  Minister and convey to him the feelings of members of the minority  community which are hurt on account of the action of the Central government through the I-T Department.  
On the issue of voting rights, the Rajya Sabha member said that the Central government after  promising in parliament during the course of a debate held on his bill  seeking amendment of Citizenship Act, had assured to give relief to  those Goans who were likely to lose their citizenship. 
“However, the  govt issued a notification only last week, asking for documents to  prove that they are citizens of India, which shows that the Centre has  deliberately delayed the process of helping members of minority  community in order to deprive them of their voting rights,” stated Naik.

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