Swarankars’ indefinite strike enters 12th day; all shops remain shut

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 28: Protesting against the hike in customs duty and introduction of excise duty on non-branded jewellery in the budget, jewellery shops in the State remained closed for the twelfth consecutive day on the call given by All India Sarafa Association.
Hundreds of Swarankars, under the banner of Swarankar Sangh Jammu Province (SSJP) were protesting against the Central Government’s decision to impose excise duty of 1 per cent on unbranded jewellery and 4 per cent import duty on gold.
Jewellers from Chowk Chabutra area and other parts of the city including Pacca Danga, Moti Bazaar, Purani Mandi, City Chowk, Kanak Mandi, Lakhdatta Bazaar. Peer Mitha, Link Road and Jain Bazaar participated in the protest along with their colleagues from other parts of Jammu province raising slogans against the Central Government.
SSJP today appealed the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to use his good offices with the Central Government and get the recently imposed taxes on unbranded jewellery and import of gold revoked.
Meanwhile, Raj Kumar Babber, president, SSJP, Parjan Jain, president, Sarafa Association, Kulbhushan Anand, president, Jammu city, SSJP, Parjan Anand, president, Sarafa Association, Ved Prakash Sethi, Chairman, SSJP, Ram Kapoor, general secretary, Rajinder Sehdev, cashier, Vijay Verma, vice president, Ashok Suri, joint secretary, Ashok Kumar Naggi, spokesman and Arun Sethi, vice president, Jammu city and other members viz tehsil president of SSJP today sat on hunger stike, which entered third day today.
Talking to media, Raj Kumar Babbar, President, SSJP said that the Central Government was forcing them to adopt agitational path as the imposition of excise and import duty on gold was a serious issue as it was related to 1.50 lakh workers.
“Government was not paying any heed towards their genuine demands compelling them to come on roads”, Babber said, adding, that the jewellery shops across the State will remain closed till our demands were conceded”.
Responding to a query, Babber said “we know that Navratra festival was on and people were facing problems as they could not purchase gold or silver ornaments due to the closure of shops, but we are also helpless as the rising prices of gold and recently imposed excise duty has broken the back bone of the jewellers and they will fight till the end to get the taxes revoked by the Central Government”.
Meanwhile, similar protest was also held at district Reasi, where hundreds of jewellers under the leadership of Vijay Abrol at Hindu Ashram held protest demonstration. They raised slogans against the Government and also expressed their resentment against the recently imposed excise duty on the unbranded jewellery and import of gold. They demanded immediate revocation of the recently imposed excise duty.
Reports pouring in from other districts of the Jammu province including Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Vijaypur, Samba and Udhampur, revealed that the jewellery shops also remained closed there and all the Swarankars from these districts held protest against this move of the Central Government and demanded its immediate revocation.