‘Anti-Hindu, at point of no return’: Karnataka govt faces ire of saints’ body over proposed temple tax

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The ‘anti-Hindu’ Congress is at a point of ‘no return,’ the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti (ABSS) said on Thursday, after the party’s government in Karnataka passed an act that empowers the state to collect 10% tax from temples with revenue exceeding 1 crore and 5% in case of 10 lakh to 1 crore.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (PTI/File)
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (PTI/File)

“This will be the first instance in the country of religion-based tax. This is the same as Jaziya tax that was collected during the Mughal regime. The Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti is of the view that tax on income is central subject, while the act being brought by the Karnataka government is an open attack on the fundamental right of freedom of religion,” Jitendranand Saraswati, general secretary, ABSS, said in a video statement.

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Calling the tax ‘illegal’ and ‘anti-constitutional,’ he appealed to the Karnataka governor to not give assent to the act, adding that outfit will take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Earlier, the opposition BJP too called out the ‘anti-Hindu’ Congress government, with BY Vijayendra, the former’s state unit chief, alleging that the grand old party will use the funds for ‘another purpose’ – to fill its ‘empty coffers.’

Responding to Vijayendra, minister Ramalinga Reddy said that contrary to the BJP’s charge that the Congress is ‘anti-Hindu,’ the grand old party is, in fact, ‘the true proponent of Hinduism.’

“This is because over the years, Congress governments have consistently safeguarded temples and Hindu interests,” Reddy stated.

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