SRINAGAR: After hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani asked business community and civil society of Kashmir to find a solution for implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), which has not yet been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, the opposition National Conference on Monday accused the separatist leader of trying to “bail out” PDP-BJP government on the sensitive issue.
“Geelani has yet again gone out of his way in an effort to bail out the PDP-BJP government GST’s extension to the State,” said a joint statement issued by senior NC leaders Ali Muhammad Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Chaudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Mubarak Gul, Muhammad Shafi Uri, Muhammad Akbar Lone, Mian Altaf Ahmed and Provincial Presidents Nasir Aslam Wani and Devender Singh Rana.
The NC leaders were reacting to the recent statement of Geelani in which he had said the business community and civil society of Kashmir should take a call on the implementation of the contentious GST in the state.
“The business community and civil society have a role in finding a solution regarding the implementation of GST and sorting out the problems relating to their business. However, it is very important to take extreme care that in no case it should change the discourse of our resistance movement and alter the status of Kashmir issue,” Geelani had said.
The NC, traders and civil society members of Kashmir are opposing implementation of GST in present form in the State saying it would infringe on state’s financial autonomy enjoyed by J&K under Article 370.
Due to opposition to GST in Valley, the PDP-BJP government has not implemented GST in the state so far. A special session of J&K Assembly has been convened by the government from July 4 to discuss the implementation of GST in the State.
Geelani had also accused NC of indulging in “fraudulent politics” on the issue saying the hue and cry raised by NC cadre on GST is “just a drama and a mere political stunt”.
He had alleged that Indira-Abdullah accord of 1975 proved a last “nail in coffin” of the special status of state “and Sheikh dynasty once for all gave up its rhetoric about much-hyped plebiscite slogan and stance”.
The NC leaders today hit out at Geelani saying he has yet again presented himself to be used as an evasive, last-resort measure by a cornered and deeply unpopular PDP-BJP government in the State.
“The distortion of history by Geelani to serve this purpose is highly unfortunate and needs to be exposed. People of Kashmir cannot be expected to have an unlimited appetite for half-truths and distortions floated by Geelani to benefit PDP while the common man is expected to render innumerable and unimaginable sacrifices,” they said adding, “Duality between Geelani's rhetoric and reality, between asking the people to sacrifice while personally nurturing a quid-pro-quo relationship with the ruling dispensation - especially the PDP – is an insult to the honest and forthright people of the State”.
“Since the extension of GST in its present form to the State is a grave public matter that will have far-reaching ramifications for the State and its people, NC cannot allow anyone, including Geelani, to ‘caution’ and browbeat the people against opposing such nefarious designs of PDP. The traders and businessmen have every right to oppose the PDP-BJP government and its machinations against the J&K’s special status and don’t need licenses or permissions from Geelani to stand in defense of the State’s interests and the aspirations of its people,” they said.
Reacting to Geelani’s charge that Indira-Abdullah accord of 1975 proved the last nail in “coffin of special status” of state, NC leaders said in 1977 after the party came to power Geelani, an MLA at that time, is a witness that NC-led dispensation never compromised with the special status of the State.
“The deceptive posturing of Geelani on GST is a design to subvert the cause of the people of J&K and to bail out the present rulers of the State, who are hell-bent to trample the aspirations of the people at the behest of the powers that be in New Delhi,” they added.