Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on February 22 charged that the imposition of property tax in Jammu and Kashmir was part of the BJP’s larger agenda of impoverishing the people of the Union Territory.
“The real aim is to make people of Jammu and Kashmir so poor that they don’t demand anything. Look at the rest of the country, 80 crore people are getting free ration. They don’t ask for jobs or cheaper fuel. They just wait for the 5 kg grain so that they can feed their children. They want to bring Jammu and Kashmir also to the same level. This is part of a larger agenda to bury people of J&K,” she told reporters at the PDP office in Srinagar. “People just have to refuse to pay the tax peacefully,” she added.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on February 21 issued a notification for imposition of property tax in the Union Territory which will come into effect from the next financial year. The PDP president said the economy and development indices of Jammu and Kashmir were better than some of the States in the country.
“They could not bring other States at par with J&K, now they are trying to bring us at par with other States,” he added. The former Chief Minister said the BJP has been a "disaster" for Jammu and Kashmir.
“There are (natural calamities) earthquakes and floods. Just like that we have new orders every day, be it regarding jobs, demolition drive or now the property tax,” she said.
“How will the shopkeepers of Raghunath Bazaar in Jammu pay the tax when there is no business? In Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir, three to four families live in one house. They don’t have money to pay electricity bills and you are asking for property tax,” she added.
Responding to a question, Mehbooba said the people will have to resist if they want to get rid of these frequent orders rather than put burden on them.
“You have to resist to exist. Unless you resist, they will keep crushing you. People just have to refuse to pay the tax peacefully. We will not pay,” she said. National Conference chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said imposition of property tax in current circumstances was an "anti-people" move.
“These 'arbitrary' and 'anti-people' orders are not the right way to go ahead. Such decisions are best left to an elected government,” Mr. Sadiq told PTI.
“The economic condition of the people of J&K is not good. Right from 2019, the condition has gone from bad to worse. Such a decision is to be taken by an elected government, not by bureaucrats. Elsewhere in the country, such taxes are to be passed by the general council of Municipal bodies. This tax has not been brought to the Municipality General Council,” he said.