Most of the shops and other business establishments were shut across Kashmir today to protest against GST in the state, prompting authorities to impose restrictions on the assembly of people in parts of Srinagar as a precautionary measure. The shutdown call was given by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers (KTMF). The traders and the opposition parties claim the new tax regime would lead to erosion of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir guaranteed by Article 370 of the Constitution. However, public transport was plying normally. KTMF had yesterday called for a general strike in the Valley today, saying GST, in its present form, would lead to erosion of the fiscal autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and was not acceptable to the people of the state. “We are against this new law in which they talk about one India, one tax. 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,” KTMF president Muhammad Yasin Khan said here. We are giving a call for Kashmir bandh today. The business community in the Valley was ready to face any losses on account of non-implementation of GST, but they would not allow implementation of the new tax regime in the state in its present form, he said. “We will not allow any amendments to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. People in Chenab valley and Pir Panchal are with us and they will also observe the bandh,” he said. Khan said KTMF would hold a sit-in protest at city centre Lal Chowk here and made an appeal to the traders in other districts to protest the against the new tax regime in its present form.
Apprehending law and order problems, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of the city here as a precautionary measure. Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc were imposed in five police station areas in downtown (old city) areas of Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, district magistrate (deputy commissioner) Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone told PTI. He said the curbs were in force in the areas under the jurisdictions of police stations Nowhatta, M R Gunj, Rainawari, Khanyar and Safakadal.
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He said the curbs were imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident in view of the strike and protests called by the KTMF. The restrictions in these areas continued for the second day today, as the authorities had yesterday imposed the curbs to thwart protests by separatists against the decision of the US to declare Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a “global terrorist”.