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Textile traders protest against GST in Surat

Protesting textile traders clash with police in Surat on Monday.  

Thousands of traders gathered at the Millennium Market to protest against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Surat on Monday.

The traders feared that the introduction of GST would lead to return of 'inspector raj' and harassment of small traders engaged in textile and apparel business.

Police had to lathicharge the protesting textile traders. Several protesters received injuries even while the police claimed that they were forced to act after the stonepelting by the protesters.

There are 175 retail and wholesale textile and apparel markets in Surat with more than 60,000 traders generating Rs. 300 crore turnover per day.

"We will not accept GST on fabrics.  It will ruin our trade and that the small traders will have to shut their shops," said Sanjay Jagnani, a textile trader and office bearer of Surat Textile Traders Association.

Echoing similar views another trader said that more than 50,000 traders in Surat' are united in fighting this.

On Sunday,  BJP MP CR Patil had a meeting with some traders to discuss the issue and to put an end to the strike. However, majority of traders remained firm that the strike would continue till the GST was removed from the fabric.

“On Monday, a few traders tried to open their shops after meeting with CR Patil, who tried to create divisions among traders and merchants. At Patil’s behest, police wielded batons to scare the traders,” a trader said, alleging that the government machinery was being used to suppress the agitation by traders.

"Some traders had met the MP who asked them to open shops and promised to provide them police security against those who insisted on continuing with the indefinite bandh. The police started beating up the protesting traders even when they were carrying out their protest peacefully," trader Gaurav Shrimali said after the police baton charged the agitators.

Congress slams police action

Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel slammed the police for wielding batons on traders. “Shocking that police has used brutal force against Surat traders protesting against GST. Government must reason with them, not suppress them,” Mr. Patel tweeted, condemning the police action.

Besides Ahmed Patel, Patidar quita agitation leader Hardik Patel also condemned the police action on traders.

 

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:12:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/textile-traders-protest-against-gst-in-surat/article19204767.ece

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