Cropped video shared to falsely claim Congress wants Hindu puja items to be taxed

By: Rohith Gutta
November 23 2023

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Cropped video shared to falsely claim Congress wants Hindu puja items to be taxed

Screenshot of the cropped video on social media. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

In the original video, Congress leader Supriya Shrinate states that while other items weren't taxed, the government levied 18 percent GST on Gangajal.

Claim ID e988ce83

What is the claim?

A 58-second video of a spokesperson of the Indian National Congress is being shared on various social media platforms with claims insinuating that the party is anti-Hindu. The viral clip shows Supriya Shrinate listing out items used in Hindu ceremonies on which Goods and Service Tax (GST) is not imposed. Posts sharing the video imply that the Congress leader is questioning why the items are not taxed. A user on Facebook shared the clip with the title, in Telugu, “Islamic Congress Party is questioning why there is no GST on Hindu religious paraphernalia.” Archived versions of such posts can be viewed here and here. The clip is being shared with similar captions on WhatsApp, too.

The clip shows Shrinate listing various items, such as rudarksh (religious prayer beads), vibhooti (ash powder), and Tulsi mala (a garland made of basil leaves), and complaining that no GST is imposed on these items.

Screenshots of the post on social media (Source: Facebook/WhatsApp/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the clip has been cropped out from a longer video. In the original video, she states that while these items are not taxed, the government has imposed the GST on Gangajal (water of the Ganges river considered holy by many Hindus), an item used during various Hindu religious ceremonies.

What did we find?

Reverse-image and Google search showed us that Shrinate’s statement had been selectively cropped out from the statements she made during a Congress party press conference on October 17. The Congress had organized a press meeting to oppose the alleged imposition of GST on Gangajal. The press meet video, which is almost ten minutes long, is available on Congress’ official YouTube channel.

The viral clip runs between the 6:07- 7:06 timestamps. In the longer video, we can see Shrinate listing out Hindu religious items on which GST was not imposed and questioning the Indian government’s alleged decision to tax Gangajal at 18 percent. She claimed that it was only after Congress raised the issue of imposition of GST on Gangajal that the government walked back on its decision. The Congress spokesperson does not advocate taxing religious items at any point in the video, contrary to the insinuations made in the posts sharing the viral clip.

According to a report in The Telegraph, while the Congress had accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of imposing 18 percent GST on Gangajal, the BJP refused those charges, claiming that the religious item has always been exempt from GST. 

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the nodal authority for implementing GST, in a post on X on October 12, said that Gangajal has been exempt since the introduction of GST in 2017, and this tax was never levied on that item. 

The verdict

A cropped clip from a press conference where Congress leader Supriya Shrinate spoke has been shared to claim that her party demanded the imposition of the GST on Hindu religious items. Therefore, we have marked this claim false. 

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