July 2017 News

Uproar Mars GST Session In J&K House

4 July 2017

Srinagar: Hitting a new low, lawmakers in Jammu and Kashmir traded barbs, used foul language, issued threats and even came to blows on the first day of the special session of the state legislature to discuss the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Tuesday. It started from the Legislative Council, when members of the treasury and Opposition came to blows with each other, prompting House marshals to intervene to stop any sort of violence. Soon after the Upper House resumed the business, the Opposition members raised a hue and cry about a gag on the media. Later, when a PDP MLC rose to discuss the GST, the Opposition members tried to interrupt him repeatedly. Things went out of control when both the Opposition and treasury benches started accusing each other of weakening J&K's special status. The situation went out of control when both sides lost their cool and started throwing stationery items at each other. Some members even charged at their opponents, prompting the marshals to intervene. Later, the chairman adjourned the House. The Legislative Assembly, too, witnessed a ruckus after independent MLA Engineer Rashid tried to storm into the well. However, the marshals immediately swung into the action and tried to drag him out of the House. However, National Conference MLA Abdul Majid Larmi intervened and tried to come to his rescue. The House was later adjourned. However when the House resumed again, there was an exchange of sharp words between the treasury and opposition benches. Soon after National Conference MLA from Nagrota Devender Singh Rana started his speech, J&K sports minister Imran Reza Ansari quipped that he has already got the GST for his business. Rana retorted that he has never committed a tax fraud. This triggered a chain reaction and J&K Sports Minister openly threatened to lynch Rana. 'I will lynch you,' he said. Former chief minister and MLA Beerwa Omar Abdullah, who was not present in the House, later tweeted about the minister's threat to Rana. 'Mehbooba Mufti's cabinet minister loses his cool in the assembly threatens to lynch my colleague Devender Rana during the assembly debate', he said. Earlier Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Finance Dr Haseeb Drabu moved a Resolution in the Legislative Assembly while Minister for Road and Bridges Naeem Akhtar moved in the Legislative Council for amending constitution of India to facilitate the implementation of the GST in the State. Seeking support of the House, Dr Drabu said the State Government has brought the issue of extending GST to J&K to the Legislature with the sincerity of purpose. 'The issues of constitution should be debated by lawmakers and settled in this house. This should form the basis of our democracy,' he said. Finance Minister said the new tax regime is being debated across the country since 2002 and J&K Government is only becoming part of a process in which the Opposition National Conference also participated when the party was in power. 'Jammu and Kashmir has a special place in the Constitution of India, and there is a set procedure for extending Constitutional Amendments to the State. Our intention is to have thorough debate on the draft legislation to clear all aspects related to it. It is not just the Cabinet which can take decisions, but legislature has a very important role in it,' he said. Earlier a high drama was witnessed outside the House when media persons were barred from taking cameras and phones inside. Media immediately boycotted the proceedings prompting the speaker Kavinder Gupta to intervene. The logjam was broken after media persons were allowed to carry their equipment inside the House.