The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) today alleged that J&K was being subjected to “tax terrorism” and the government was “harassing” flood-hit traders by levying service tax on chopper service to the Vaishno Devi shrine.
“The government has subjected the state to tax terrorism. On the one hand, the Sales Tax Department has started harassing flood-hit Valley traders through undue crackdown on shopkeepers and on the other hand, service tax is being levied on pilgrims,” KTMF president Haji Mohammed Yasin Khan said in a statement.
He said these developments would divide the state. “In one region communal sentiments of people are being hurt whereas in the other, the flood victims are being subjected to undue taxation. This will have far reaching consequences and the state is all set to get polarised on regional and communal lines,” Khan said.
“Orders being executed by the Finance Department seem to be part of the game plan conceived by the RSS in Nagpur. This game plan aims at victimising the people of Kashmir and at the same time dividing the state on communal lines,” he alleged.
He said at a time when subsidies were being offered for pilgrimages to uphold communal harmony, the tax on chopper service to Vaishno Devi shrine can “jeopardise the safety of Muslims living in the Jammu region”.
“This is evident through the government orders, which started with the imposition of 4 per cent additional tax on diesel and petrol. This four per cent tax has in fact silently lead to manifold inflation in the state even as the flood-hit are yet to get any rehabilitation package from the government,” Khan added.
The traders’ body appealed to PM Narendra Modi and CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to look into the matter to avoid “polarisation” in the state.