Protesting the goods and services tax that came into effect at midnight on Friday, shops and business establishments were shut across Kashmir, PTI reported. The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers called for the shutdown following which authorities imposed Section 144, restricting an assembly of more than four people.
There are apprehensions that the GST would undermine the special status of Jammu and Kashmir guaranteed by Article 370 of Constitution. “We are against this new law in which they talk about one India, one tax,” KTMF President Muhammad Yasin Khan said. “We will not allow the implementation of this new law, even if we have to sacrifice our lives. We will not allow the erosion of our special status.”
Khan said the association members will stage a demonstration at Lal Chowk in Srinagar to protest against the GST in its present form. Section 144 continued for the second day in the state capital on Saturday, as the authorities had taken measures on Friday following protests by separatists against the United States declaring Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a “global terrorist”.
Jammu and Kashmir assembly is expected to pass the GST Bill by July 6, state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu has said, according to PTI. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state that did not implement the new tax regime on June 30. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had urged Chief Minister Mehboob Mufti to implement GST failing which there would be an “adverse impact” of price rise.