GST, Media gag triggers noisy scenes, protests in and outsides state assembly


    SRINAGAR: (KPS) Noisy scenes by the opposition in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Tuesday forced the Speaker to adjourn the House twice as the lawmakers took up the discussion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation.

    Opposition MLAs belonging to the National Conference (NC), the Congress and Independents stood up on their seats and later rushed towards the Speaker’s chair to raise their concerns.

    The opposition parties including the NC, Congress and Independents said they were not against the GST per se, but were against the adoption of Amendment 101 in its present form.

    Independent lawmaker from Langate, engineer Rasheed said that Finance Minister was conspiring against the state of Jammu and Kashmir to eradicate its constitutional position.

    While, Speaker of the lower house of the state Kavinder Gupta resumed the proceedings after the house was adjourned due to the media gag, Dr Drabu started his speech on the GST.

    Rasheed stood up from his seat and told Drabu that he was conspiring against the state. “Drabu sb, Kashmir is a disputed territory. We have our own constitution, flag. You are hell-bent to eradicate that,” Rasheed said.

    He said that the people had lost faith in the government and that it was ruling the state at the barrel of Gun.

    Meanwhile, Drabu kept addressing the chair and continued his speech. He said that the government will try to array all the apprehensions of all the stakeholders in GST.  GST is currently one of the most powerful legislation of the country, Drabu said, “There are apprehensions all over India and not just in Kashmir. The government is open to discussions under the constitution of India and Jammu and Kashmir.”

    Er Rashid entered well of the house and snatched the contents of the proceedings from Haseeb Drabu which he was reading. Later when Muhammad Shafi Uri narrated a couplet “Na samjhoge tooh mit jawoge—,”

    Er Rasheed asked him to complete the same and Javaid Beigh dared Er Rasheed to complete the remaining part of couplet. Er Rashid responded by saying “Na samjho gay tooh mit jawoge Hindustan walo, Tumhari dastaan tak na hogi dastanunu mai.”

    This created much panic with the ruling bench  MLA’s led by BJP president Satpal Sharma and Javaid Beigh lashed out at Er Rasheed and used abusive language.

    Javaid Beigh said that Er Rasheed deserved to be hanged at four way for his anti-India ideology and Er Rashid responded that this mentality should make the world know that who are the terrorists.

    Amid threats from ruling alliance Er Rasheed loudly said “you have been accusing Zakir Moosa and Sallahudin as terrorists but world community should know that the real terrorists and intolerants are there in the J&K assembly. You people have been not only killing Kashmiris only but Indians also in the name of cows and all your efforts to dilute the disputed character of J&K will be dealt with strongly”

    Speaker Kavinder Gupta ordered marshaling out of Independent MLA Engineer Rashid and some other opposition MLAs as they raised anti-GST slogans. The House would resume at 2.30 p.m.

    The opposition believes it will infringe on the special status of the state. They argued that surrendering collection of taxes to the GST Council would take away the financial autonomy of the state as guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution.

    The opposition MLAs alleged that the ruling PDP under pressure from its BJP ally has decided to bulldoze through the GST implementation in the state.

    Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the country where the GST has not been implemented so far.

    Earlier media-persons staged a walk-out from the press gallery of Jammu and Kashmir assembly after the government barred them from taking mobile phones and cameras inside the House.

    Media-persons staged a walkout and decided to boycott the assembly proceedings after the government order asking them not to carry their mobile phones and cameras inside the House.

    Moments after media-persons staged a walkout and decided to boycott the proceedings of Jammu and Kashmir assembly, the Jammu and Kashmir government issued an order, saying that the journalists could now carry their phones and cameras inside the House.

    “It has now been decided by the concerned authorities that the Journalists can carry Video/Still Cameras and Mobile Phones inside the Press Gallery of the Legislature for the coverage of the special session which recommenced here today on 4th July 2017,” said the order.

    However refused to return to the house, ended the boycott after Speaker Kavinder Gupta apologized and assured that gag on electronic media would not be repeated.

    Meanwhile, Devender Rana of National Conference said that the government has declared emergency in the House to pass the GST bill. The Opposition Members, including National Conference were seen raising slogans against the coalition government for media gag.

    A special session of the assembly was reconvened today to discuss the implementation of the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

    Opposition parties, separatists, civil society and Kashmiri businessmen have been opposing the GST. They say that the new tax law infringes on residual political autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and its special powers to legislate on financial matters. (KPS)