Protesting imposition of 5 per cent GST on the textile industry, traders on Saturday forcibly shut down shops in the market area here and also raised slogans against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. They have decided that the textile markets in the city would remain closed for an indefinite period.
In protest, a group of textile traders stripped down to their undergarments and sat near the main gate of Sagar Market on Ring Road. Soon, police reached the spot, dispersed the protesters and also picked up two traders.
“We have come to know that these traders were inciting the others, as a result there was tension in the market area. The traders were allowed to go back after their statements were recorded. We have not detained anybody,” said Salabatpura police inspector B K Vanar.
Members of the GST Sangharsh Samiti on Friday had decided to keep their shops open, but not to do any business between July 1 and July 4, and then begin an indefinite strike from July 5. On Saturday morning, however, they again met and decided keep shops closed for indefinite period.
Rajesh Agrawal of the GST Sangharsh Samiti said: “In today’s meeting, we decided that the textile trading markets will remain shut for an indefinite period. We will again organise a meeting on Monday evening to decide the future course of action. The traders will come to the textile market, but won’t open their shops.”
Following the decision, over 500 textile traders in the afternoon marched from Good Luck Market on Ring Road to different textile markets, forcing others to close their shops.
The angry traders then went to the office of Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA), where they made a representation. Soon, members of FOSTTA called a meeting of presidents and secretaries of 165 textile markets to discuss about the present situation and also to decide whether to keep the shops open or closed from Monday onwards.
With around 70,000 members, the Samiti includes those associated with FOSTTA.
Rajesh Agrawal, a member of the GST Sangharsh Samiti, said, “The traders want no GST on textile trading and today they have showed their frustrations by taking out a rally and forcing the shopkeepers to shut down their shops.” Earlier, the textile industry was exempted from taxation.