A clipping of Times of India’s front page is doing the rounds on Social Media at least since Friday morning, where one snippet claims that the BJP led Uttar Pradesh government has imposed a 6 per cent GST on the donations collected by the Church during their Sunday mass offerings:
As seen above the snipped claimed that a new law has been passed in Uttar Pradesh, where Sunday church offerings are going to be liable for a 6 per cent GST.
This image seems to be going viral, which can be gauged by the fact that our source received it via a messaging service and a Facebook group where the sender was seen questioning the Christian MLAs:
Apart from this, various public posts on Facebook too heavily criticised the BJP government by quoting the image:
So has the Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government indeed passed such a law, which might displease practising Christians? Lets find out.
One of the first signs of inaccuracies is the lack of even texturing between the GST news and the rest of the newspaper, with the backgrounds being of different shades grey and white. On top of it the news exposes itself as inaccurate owing to the claim that a “6 per cent GST” has been imposed by the UP government.
This is owing to India currently not having have any GST slab of 6 per cent, with existing slabs being 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.
Further the snippet claims that the law has been recently passed by the BJP government, but the front page though was published by the newspaper back in 2010. This can be proven by the fact that one of the headlines on that page is, “Won’t accept Amar’s resignation: Mulayam“:
This was reported by the Times of India in January 2010:
On top of it another headline reported that cricketer Zaheer Khan was leading an impressive bowling performance in Dhaka, which proves that the front page is indeed old as Khan retired from international cricket in 2015.
Also to be doubly sure we ran a Google News Search with the keywords “GST Church Offerings UP” to ascertain where any media house has indeed reported such a news:
As seen above no media house has reported such a news.
This raises the question as to who is responsible for floating such morphed images on social media, which was then spread by gullible and angry Christians?
What makes things more perplexing is the fact that this morphed image is being spread just days after the Goa Archbishop launched an indirect but scathing attack on the Modi government, by claiming that the Indian constitution was in danger.
Incidentally TOI was recently a victim of another such image doctoring, when mischievous elements had spread a malicious headline to discredit a meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.