GST resolution passed, but trade leaders still under house arrest

The J&K assembly passed the resolution on extension of the GST regime to the state on Wednesday and is waiting for the Constitution Amendment order to be issued by the President of India. But the couple of trade leaders who were limited to their residence are still under status quo.
Authorities had arrested scores of trade leaders early this week to foil their protest programme. They were kept in police stations overnight, allegedly without even food.
However, some of the senior trade leaders who were kept under house arrest are still limited to their home. These include Mohammad Yasin Khan, Mubeen Ahmad Shah and Shakeel Qalander. Reports said their cell phones have been snapped as well.
“I am at home for all the days as I have been told that I am under house arrest,” one of the three leaders approached by Kashmir Life said. “I do not know why we are under restrictions? What we would have done, had we been free?” He said his phone is still suspended and he is unable to talk to the anybody, including his family.
Trade has been quite restive over the extension of the GST regime to J&K. Its main concern has been that it will

Dr Mubeen A Shah

devour part of the state’s rights to legislate on taxation issues in the same way it will subsume all the taxes currently in vogue. It had also certain differences over the procedures and the processes that the new tax system will introduce in the state.

In the state assembly on Wednesday before the passage of the resolution seeking amended extension of the new regime, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu gave a basic sketch of the safeguards that will be extended to the state. It will include un-amended survival of the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Section 5 of the J&K Constitution and skipped section 426 of the Indian constitution in extending the new tax system. He said the state will retain its tax legislative powers, a sort of veto on J&K issues within the GST council in addition to its own appellant authority within the state.
Shakeel Qalander

Trade, however, has not reacted to the development, primarily because their leaders are restricted to their residences.

The government faced scathing criticism for its action against the trade. Some lawmakers even said the government, instead of detaining them, should have invited them to the assembly to witness the discussions  which could allayed some of their fears. The government had no response to these statements.
Trade had sponsored a day long strike against the GST introduction in the state which coincided with the passage of the resolution. Unlike Kashmir, reports from Jammu said, there were jubilations over the GST entry in the state.


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