GST in Jammu and Kashmir: Ruckus in Assembly after PDP minister threatens to 'lynch' lawmaker

Following a heated exchange between PDP minister Imran Ansari and National Conference leader Devendra Singh Rana – during which the former threatened to "lynch" the latter in the Legislative Assembly – another minister, Sajad Lone, has come to the rescue of his cabinet colleague.

The remark came during a discussion on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Jammu and Kashmir is the only state yet to implement the tax reform.

GST. Representational image of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

Lone, the chairman of Peoples Conference – an ally of BJP in the state government – tried to normalise the use of the word "lynch". He said that Ansari had used the word 'creatively' and argued that it should not be understood in its restricted literal meaning.

"I can assure you that he (Ansari) had stretched the meaning of the word and used it creatively," Lone, who is also a social welfare minister in the state government, said in the Assembly on Wednesday.

"He (Ansari) was right in using the word lynch and if you have any doubt you can consult an English professor... he only stretched the used of the English language," he added.

His comments were met with sarcastic laughter from the Opposition benches. Meanwhile, senior National Conference leader Mohammad Shafi asked the Speaker of the House to give his ruling on the matter, as 'it was a grave threat which can't be ignored'.

"The threat comes under criminal intimidation when people like us use these words in the House... how do you expect to stop the people on the roads," Shafi asked the Speaker.

On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had witnessed ruckus in the House during a special session to debate the new tax regime. Ansari had said that Rana, who is also a businessman, has already obtained GST clearance for the businesses he owns. As the debate started heating up, Rana, while referring to Ansari said, "Hum tax chor nahi hain (We are not tax evaders)."

This enraged Ansari and ultimately led to an uproar in the House. Ansari replied by saying, "I can lynch you here, I know you and your shady business."

When Lone stood on Wednesday to defend Ansari, Rana told him not to "defend the indefensible".

The word 'lynching' was extensively debated upon in Kashmir in the wake of the killing of a senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer, who was beaten to death in Srinagar last month.

The special session of the Assembly was called by the Opposition, as it believed that GST would erode the financial autonomy of the state. The Traders and Manufacturers (KTMF) association have also called for a Valley-wide shutdown to protest against GST.

The House had witnessed similar unrest recently when the firebrand MLA from Langate in North Kashmir, Engineer Rashid, had expressed his resentment over BJP's assertion of celebrating Shama Prasad Mukherjee's legacy and the reverence showed for the erstwhile Dogra rulers of the state.

"Either the Dogra ruler was a traitor or Sheikh Abdullah was a traitor. Both cannot be heroes. Let me see what will you do on 13 July, when the state celebrates martyrdom of civilians who protested against the Maharaja," said Rashid.

Updated Date: Jul 05, 2017 16:47 PM

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