Amid shutdown traders stage protest to oppose GST

A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir against implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) in J&K state.

All the shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off roads following the shutdown call by the business community arguing that the new tax regime would “erode state’s special powers and fiscal autonomy” and stressed for boycott of new tax regime in its present form.

Meanwhile on Saturday, President KTMF Muhammad Yasin Khan was along with two dozen traders were arrested during a protest march against the proposed implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Khan was leading a protest march towards the Civil Secretariat in Srinagar where a special session was underway to debate the GST implementation.

“After holding an hour-long sit-in at Lal Chowk, we began a march towards the secretariat,” the KTMF spokesman said.

He said they however, were stopped by JK Police at Budshah Chowk and arrested Khan and over two-dozen traders as well.

Yasin Khan was lodged at Kothibagh police station, he said.

Opposing the implementation of GST, the traders body stressed that they don’t believe in ‘One India, One Tax’ and stand against it because Kashmir is a disputed territory.

“We won’t allow its (GST) implementation in Jammu and Kashmir and we had called for a Valley-wide shutdown on Saturday,” the protesting traders said.

The traders body assembled in Lal chowk and tried to march towards Secretariat, however police swung into action and foiled their protest.

The traders questioned that when J&K state has a separate constitution and a different Assembly term then why can’t the state have a special GST.

“The stand of business community against the new tax law is firm,” he added.

The traders said during their meeting with government representatives, they had clearly opposed GST and asked the chief minister and the finance minister to draft state’s own taxation policy.

“There was definitely room for drafting such a tax regime for the state but some vested interests are not allowing it to happen,” Khan said.

Traders in all the regions have build a consensus to oppose the GST.

Meanwhile, a senior police official at Kothi Bagh Police station said around a dozen traders including Yasin Khan were detained at Kothi Bagh Police station. He said that the arrested traders were released in the afternoon.

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