[Police baton-charge textile traders who were staging a protest against GST in Surat on Monday. (Photo:PTI)]
Surat: The police on Monday baton charged traders and manufacturers who were protesting against the imposition of Goods & Services Tax (GST) on textile products in Surat.
The police swung into action after a large number of traders gathered at the Millennium Market to protest against the 5% GST levied on textile products.
The textile products have been so far free from any tax. Anger sparked in textile clusters across the country ever since the government decided to bring the textile sector under the tax net.
The Union Government has imposed 05% GST on fabrics and other services including job work.
The textile traders in Surat, Ahmedabad and other parts of the country have so far refused to get the GST number, and are demanding from the government to roll back the levy.
They say that while high-end and branded apparel makers benefit from the 28% tax rate, small and local apparel brands will see a rise in prices as they usually earn relatively lesser margins of around 10%-15%.
The traders hope that the government would roll back or find a middle path to help the sector. They have been seeking imposition of GST on yarn or on manufacturers instead.
Reports of opposition to GST also came in from Rajkot, where over 300 furniture traders put up banners in front of their shops.
The protest broke out on Monday even after some members of GST Sangharsh Samiti, a body formed by the traders to oppose GST, met local MP and BJP leader C R Patil and decided to call off their stir.
A large number of traders, who were against calling off the protest, raised slogans against the government's move. There were also reports of stone pelting.
The Surat police commissioner said that a policeman was injured and they had to baton charge protesters as the situation was going out of control.
The situation at the textile markets on Ring Road was tensed in the morning hours when the BJP MP CR Patil moved in the markets urging the traders to open their shops. The police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge when the traders shouted slogans against Paatil and the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
Patil was working hard to divide the leaders of textile traders' community to end the indefinite strike.