Uttar Pradesh businessmen arrested for protesting tax hike

October 6th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Oct 6 (IANS) A large number of businessmen, protesting against the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to increase value added tax (VAT) and implementation of entry tax, were arrested here Monday, officials said.The industrialists, under the banner of Indian Industries Association (IIA), had organised a protest march and were proceeding towards Chief Minister Mayawati’s residence to hand over a memorandum when the police arrested them in the Hazratganj locality.

The march was part of IIA’s statewide protest against the government move.

“We began the peaceful march from the Moti Mahal lawns but were diverted towards the Shani Dev temple. However, policemen were waiting there and we were dumped inside police vans and were taken to the police lines,” IIA executive director D.S. Verma told IANS over phone.

The IIA is opposing the increase of VAT on raw materials and other items from 4 percent to 12.5, as well as implementation of an additional entry tax of 2 percent.

“The decision of the government will further accelerate the migration of industries from Uttar Pradesh and our members have already started looking for options in Uttaranchal and other neighbouring states,” added Verma.

The police said the huge gathering was a threat to law and order.

“We arrested them as they were disrupting traffic and posed a threat to those moving on the road,” Hazratganj police inspector A.S. Chauhan said. “They will be released by evening.”

The IIA maintained that it will continue with the agitation if the government did not withdraw its decision.

“We will be holding a press conference Tuesday to let people know how we were suppressed throughout the state because of our peaceful protest Monday,” Verma said.

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