SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) on Thursday accused the government of subjecting the traders in the state to “tax terrorism”.
The KTMF President, Haji Mohammed Yasin Khan, who also heads a faction of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), said the Sales Tax Department has started “harassment” of the flood-hit traders in Kashmir through “undue crackdown”, while service tax is being levied on religious matters such as Mata Vaishnu Devi pilgrimage.
“In one region, the communal sentiments of the people are being hurt whereas the flood victims in the other are being subjected to undue taxation. This all will have far-reaching consequences and the state is all set to get polarised on regional and communal lines,” he said, in a release issued here. Khan said the orders being executed by the Finance Department seem to be part of “the game plan conceived by the RSS in Nagpur”.
“This game plan aims at victimising the people of Kashmir and, at the same time, dividing the state on communal lines,” he said.
At a time when governments offer subsidies for pilgrimage to uphold communal harmony, Vaishnu Devi tax can “jeopardise the safety of the Muslims living in Jammu region”, he said.
The KTMF President said the “deep-rooted conspiracy” behind the crackdown on taxpayers is evident from the government orders that followed imposition of 4 per cent additional tax on diesel and petrol.
The percentage increase has, in fact, silently led to “manifold inflation” in the state when the flood-hit people are yet to get any rehabilitation package from the government, he said. Questioning the legitimacy of the orders issued by the Finance Department, Khan said: “If Chief Minister is sincere towards the state, how come does he allow one department or minister to take entire state for a ride? Or is it that this government is…being run by RSS ideologues?”
He appealed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to personally look into the matter.
“New Delhi and the JK government need to show seriousness in ending this tax terror, otherwise it is going to be taken as a deep-rooted conspiracy that may not only polarise the state but also risk the life of Muslims in Jammu,” he said.