Punjab arhtiyas go on four-day strike against I-T raids

Punjab arhtiyas go on four-day strike against income tax raids

According to Federation of Arhtiyas president Vijay Kalra, crop was neither sold nor purchased at grain markets in the state

 Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

Arhtiyas in Punjab on Tuesday started their four-day strike against income tax raids, allegedly conducted to intimidate them for supporting the farmers’ stir against the Centre’s agriculture laws.

According to Federation of Arhtiyas president Vijay Kalra, crop was neither sold nor purchased at grain markets in the state.

“All arhtiyas went on a four-day strike. They kept their shops shut,” said Ravinder Singh Cheema, president of the Punjab Arhtiya Association.

Cheema accused the Centre of taking “revengeful” action against commission agents for supporting the farmers’ agitation.

Premises of six commission agents were raided by the Income Tax Department recently.

A total of 14 commission agents had received notices from the IT Department before the raids.

“We are not going to be scared with this action of the Income Tax Department. We will continue to support farmers,” said a commission agent in Bathinda.

Commission agents said they had told farmers not to bring their crop to grain markets during the four-day strike.

Commission agents said farmers have also extended their support to them.

If any raid is conducted, then farmer leaders and commission agents will gherao income tax officials, they said.

There are around 24,000 licensed commission agents in the state.

On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too had accused the Centre of indulging in “intimidatory tactics” against commission agents by conducting income tax raids on their premises.

The CM had termed the I-T raids as “motivated” and a “pressure tactic” to curb their democratic right and freedom.

Farmers from different parts of the country, including Haryana and Punjab, have been camping at various border points of Delhi against the farm laws.

Farmers say the laws will eliminate the safety net of the minimum support price (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.