Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, on Tuesday, started discussions about the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the state. The scene outside the legislative assembly was quite different as the traders of the Valley took to the streets to protest the implementation of GST.
The authorities foiled the traders’ protests, who were pressing the government to ‘stop infringing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir’ by trying to put GST into effect in the state. Several trade leaders of different trade bodies were detained during the protests.
The president of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturing Federation (KTMF), Muhammad Yasin Khan, was arrested in the wee hours of Tuesday morning from his residence and was shifted to an undisclosed police station. Yasin Khan, who was arrested before the morning prayers, had to carry out an anti-GST protest at Lal Chowk today.
Meanwhile, the other faction of KTMF-led by Bashir Ahmad Rather staged protests to press the government over their demands, but police foiled their attempt to march towards Civil Secretariat and detained many members along with the president.
The traders, holding banners, assembled at Shaheed Gunj and raised anti-GST slogans. The moment the protesters tried to march towards the Civil Secretariat, police swung into action and detained many members of the trade body, including Basher Ahmad Rather, Hilal Ahmad Mandoo and others. They were lodged at Shaheed Gunj Police Station.
KTMF said that they won’t allow the state government to infringe the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Rather said, “Our state has its own constitution and why is the government mulling to implement any other law here. The imminent move of the government is against the aspirations of the people of the state.
“Bringing Kashmir under ‘one country, one tax’ regime is akin to fudging with its special status and that’s unacceptable to us.”
The police also stopped a sit-in programme of the trade bodies outside the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex by arresting several leaders and activists. The trade leaders were protesting outside the assembly, while the House was being re-convened to debate the implementation of GST bill.
Other trade leaders, who were arrested included Showkat Chowdhary, Zahoor Tramboo and Faiz Bakshi. Reports also stated that the former chairman of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Mubeen Shah, was placed under house arrest.