Congress workers on Monday staged protests in Jammu to mark the Bharat Bandh.
The bandh, however, saw a mixed response. All educational institutions, offices and business establishments in Jammu functioned normally and vehicles plied on the roads. The party had called for a country-wide bandh to protest the rise in the fuel prices.
The Congress workers in Jammu protested against the Centre and highlighted the Rs 11-lakh crore fuel loot. They demanded immediate reduction in Central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states and bringing petrol and diesel under the GST.
The workers also blocked the Jammu-Pathankot national highway at Kalibari Chowk in Kathua district and burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier, the workers marched through the town this morning and appealed to the shopkeepers to close their shops.
A large number of Congress leaders and activists, including senior functionaries of the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), held a protest at Satwari Chowk. The protest was led by JKPCC vice-president and former minister Raman Bhalla and secretary, All India Congress Committee, Shakeel Ahmed Khan.
Charging the Modi government with profiteering at the cost of the common man, Bhalla said: “Post May 26, 2014, the international crude oil prices have come down by more than 30 per cent. The BJP government earned a windfall of Rs 7.35 lakh crore by levying various Central taxes on petrol and diesel (till the Q2 of 2017-18). Where has the money gone?” “Instead of getting the benefit of the reduced rates of crude oil, people are being brutally taxed by the BJP. There has been 211.7 per cent increase in the excise duty on petrol and 443.06 per cent increase in the excise duty on diesel since May 2014,” Bhalla said.
Bhalla along with hundreds of Congress leaders took out a rally towards Bikram Chowk but were arrested by the police and taken to Police Lines, Jammu.
JKPCC vice-president Balwan Singh also led a protest. He was detained with with dozens of Congress workers when they were moving from Satwari to Bikram Chowk.
Singh said the Modi government had unleashed a price rise terror on the people of the country. “J&K is facing the worst-ever crisis because of the fuel price rise, which has broken all records,” he said.