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GST Row: ‘We reject One India, One Tax, not applicable in a disputed state’ 

KTMF calls for a strike on Saturday, says will stage a sit-in at Lal Chowk, other districts 

Srinagar: The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) on Thursday said that the new tax regime in the form of Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill represents ‘One tax, One India which is not acceptable.’

The President of the KTMF Mohammad Yaseen Khan in a presser said that how can ‘India impose it’s laws in a state which is disputed.’

“In this regard, we have met the Chief Minister as well as the Finance Minister. We have categorically told them that this law, if applied in its current form will erode the special status of the state. That will not be allowed to happen,” said Khan.

He added that today, laws have to be kept aside and the ‘disputed nature’ of the state had to be brought on the table.

“Today we are not talking about trade or laws. We are talking about the ‘disputed nature’ of our state. When the state is disputed, how can any law passed by the Government of India be applied here,” Khan proclaimed.

KTMF and its district bodies have decided to call a strike on Saturday (17th June) and stage a sit in protest in the business hub of Lal Chowk against the proposed bill.

“A sit in will be staged in all the districts also. This will be a ‘state’ bandh. When I say that, it is because that people from Chenab Valley will also observe bandh,” Khan pointed out.

Khan, while recalling the minutes of the meeting with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti recently had proposed that the state can come up with the its own GST law which will in no way tamper with the special status of the state.

“We had told them that they can come up with their own law as we have a separate constitution. Our elections are held at a different time. We had a formula which we shared with them regarding the issue,” Khan informed.

He added that some ‘paid agents’ of India in the state government don’t want that to happen.

“Kuch Zarkhareed Ghulam Hindustaan Kay (Brought slaves of India) are not allowing it to happen. We don’t want such things to happen. We are traders. We have bared losses on a huge scale in the past 70 years, especially in the past 30 years,” Khan said.

Khan, who is also the Chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, informed that the traders had opposed the proposed bill way back during the pre-budget meeting with the Finance Minister Haseeb  Drabu.

“We had asked him (Drabu) that how is the state government planning to apply this law in the state,” Khan said.

He added, “We had rejected it at that time only. However, the Finance Minister had assured us that nothing will happen to our special status. We, at that time also had told him that this is a ‘disputed state’ and how can a law passed by the GoI be applicable in the state.”

Yesterday, the opposition National Conference also held a press conference in which they came down heavily on the state government, especially the finance minister who once opposed the same GST bill.

Khan, however, was not impressed at all and pointed out that they are the same people who have weakened the ‘disputed nature’ of the state with time.

“They are the same people who have weakened our ‘disputed status’ over the years. So, I won’t trust them today neither will I stand with them today. I am with the people of the state and I will stand against anything which harms my peoples interest,” Khan maintained.

It is pertinent to mention that Drabu, in one of his articles ‘Traitor or Trojan’, published in the daily Greater Kashmir had very clearly mentioned, “Come GST neither the State Legislature nor the state cabinet will have a say on JK’s Taxation.”

However, in a recent presser Drabu said that the GST will be the first ‘full federalism which Indian union will experience in the state.’

 


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