UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday asked officials to stop GST raids on traders for three days. The decision comes after aggressive protests by traders in Varanasi, Agra, and other major cities of Uttar Pradesh.
In Varanasi, traders staged a demonstration and shops in several areas downed their shutters in protest the raids. Varanasi Vyapar Mandal president Ajit Singh Bagga said that the raids were a tool to victimise traders.
"If officials do not mend their ways, the traders will take to the streets," he said. Traders staged a mock funeral to register their protest against the raids. The raids had begun after reports of large-scale bungling and evasion in GST by traders.
Shopkeepers also kept their shops closed in Gorakhpur, Basti and Chitrakoot where raids took place. Uttar Pradesh Adarsh Vyapar Mandal president Sanjay Gupta said that traders were being harassed in the name of goods and services tax (GST) as raids were being conducted in the name of tax evasion.
"Raids on business establishments are not justified; investigations should be done only on receipt of complaint. But the officials are carrying out raids randomly to harass the traders," Gupta said. "The raids have created a fear psychosis following which many traders have closed their establishments, which is not a good sign," he added.
In western Uttar Pradesh, traders have been protesting in Meerut, Pilibhit, Bijnor, and Baghpat. Traders submitted a memorandum to former union minister Santosh Gangwar.