KTMF lashes out at govt, says, ‘Hindutva-style onslaught on Wakf board properties intolerable’

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Terming the “3000% hike” in the rent of shops owned by the Muslim Wakf Board as a “Hindutva-style onslaught on Muslim properties”, the Kashmir Inc today gave 1-week ultimatum to the government to revoke the decision or face the consequences.

Addressing a press conference here, the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation KTMF President Muhammad Yasin Khan said the unilateral decision of the government to hike the shop rentals by around 3000 % was a deliberate attack to deprive Kashmiri businessmen of their livelihood.

“The shopkeepers were paying around Rs 10,000 rent per year and this would be hiked by 15% after every three years. Though hike in rent was expected and acceptable but hike to Rs 3.5 lakhs per year is a hike which is unheard of till now,” Khan flanked by other leaders including KCCI president Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, told reporters.

Khan who also heads the Kashmir Economic Alliance said the government decision to hike the rent manifold was a shameless move to please some hidden forces which the PDP led government is “slave” of.

“It is this government which deprived business community of decent rehabilitation of traders post 2014 floods. It is this government which remained a reason for months of unrest when we traders did no business and now when we are struggling for the revival of business, the government is pushing us to the wall,” Khan said.

He said the hike of rent on Wakf will have a cascading effect on all shopkeepers across Kashmir.

“Wakf Board has some 1400 shops whereas the number of other shops on rent in Kashmir is around 2.5 lakh.  Once wakf board rent will be hiked it will have direct impact on all rentals,” Khan said.

He said the business community was being pushed to the wall again and again and it seems that the government wants the Kashmir Inc to take to streets than do business smoothly. “We want to clarify that let the government be aware that the shopkeepers sacrificed months for one cause and we won’t mind to sacrifice the remaining portion of life protesting when our life, livelihood and dignity is at stake,” Khan said.

He gave a week’s ultimatum to the government to revoke the decision and to take traders into confidence before taking decision on rent hike. “We don’t want to be at loggerheads with government and want to do our business but government is instigating us to take extreme steps. Government will be responsible for the repercussions,” Khan said.


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