Afzal Rehman, a Kashmiri Muslim wrote an open letter to Narendra Modi after demonetization was announced last week.
He writes, not many people know that life of a Kashmiri is very difficult when compared to rest part of India. How he earns his livelihood, how he works to feed his family and how his life is stuck in between the tussle of Separatists and Security. He says he is from North Kashmir and doesn’t belong to the group of 2% Kashmir separatists but he is a husband, father of 4 children and son of aged parents, A proud Indian and a Kashmiri who runs a Garment Shop in Srinagar.
He says his only though is to give good future to his children and hence even after repeated threats, he said his son to give the Police Examination. One of his daughters is studying in class 12th and he realises how important this year is for her career and growth.
But from last 4 months there has been no business, each day curfew, separatists calling for strikes and bandh. How can a middle class person who depends on business survive in this condition and feed his family? He writes, his daughter missed her school for over 2 months, his son was demoralized, young kids are being hired by separatists for throwing stones, they are unemployed so separatists pay them to throw stones at security forces. Young men are ready to do whatever separatist ask them to do, since they have to feed their family.
He discloses shocking information that his own son had joined the gang of stone pelters without his knowledge and he was shot with pellet guns. When the situation calmed down, the separatists started torching the schools, and his daughter’s school was also one among the 29 school which were burnt down. They were completely devastated and could not eat, sleep peacefully.
On 8th November when the announcement of demonetization was made, they were further scared since they had very little money and exchanging it with Kashmiris was not an option due to unrest. The whole India thought about black money but we were thinking about our lives.
He says he never thought this one small decision would actually give back his life!
The stone pelters vanished in a night, no violence, no killing no burning…the people started coming on streets, we opened our shops after months and there were smiles in everyone’s faces. There are only few traffic policeman here and there.
He says that other parts of India may be cribbing about standing in queues, but we Kashmiris are happy and very happy to stand in queues and socialise with people and meet their friends in banks.
His daughter took the exam recently, so many other children took their exams and there were hundreds of happy faces in the school. This year marked the highest attendance of 95%.
We all discussed what changed and realised that separatists had only black money of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, which no one is taking now and there is absolutely no violence. He says “We do not know about rest of India, but we Kashmiris are very happy with the decision”!
Read the original letter
Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi sir,
My name is Prasad. I have a small industry in Balanagar Hyderabad. My industry turn over is about 2 lakhs per month. This means per year it is 24 lakhs. Honestly and truthfully with all the exemptions I should be paying about 3 lakhs Income Tax to Government. But I just pay 30,000. Why?
I was born in a middle class family and with hard work and studies I came up well. Initially, I did some job for a living but after saving every paisa I have grown to the level of having my own start up industry. About 1 lakh is enough to take care of my family’s needs and other 1 lakh I invest (either in gold or shares or buying lands).
In the one lakh I spend for family, about 30000 is going indirectly in some form or the other to the government. From groceries to TV to mobile I am paying 20 to 30% of spending in tax only. If I enjoy a small party and spend Rs 3000 on drinks about 60% is going as tax to government.
Even for a liter of petrol I am having pumped about 30 rupees is going to government as tax. When I bought the car, in form of taxes alone I paid about Rs 1.5 lakhs. For a plot, I paid 1 lakh as registration fee. The colony I am residing does not even have a road of any standard and hence I paid Rs 50,000 as development fee.
After seeing the plight of patients in government hospitals and knowing well the looting nature of private hospitals, I took a health insurance policy for my family members and shamelessly even on that I am charged a service tax.
Like robbers every where I am taxed. Even in graveyards government is taxing people. But is what is this government doing to us in return?
Do we have confidence that our children will learn anything if joined in a government school? Are we assured to come home alive if we go to a government hospital? Other than country’s defence and laying roads we are not understanding where the developments works are going. Buy a car, there is road tax, get on road there is toll tax. Are we not ripped off sir?
Where is the money we are paying in taxes sir? If I have to raise salary of the employees in my industry I appraise their work and give an increment. But what are the governments doing? Even if a government employee works or not they get the same salary and same increment. Why is it that our money is so cheap, sir? On top of it taking our tax money as salaries people don’t do our work. If office is at 10 people come at 11 and wont move a pin without bribe. So, tell us sir, why should we pay taxes? If my industry has to get uninterrupted power I need to pay bribe. In all I pay around Rs 10000 as bribe per month. How can I show this bribe in white, SIR??
Simply for this reason we hate to pay tax to governments sir. That does not mean I have no social responsibility, sir. I gave 10000 when you have appealed to help for the army fund. I give 20000 a year to an orphanage in my neighbourhood and gave a donation of 1 lakh in the name of my father when people of my village said they will uplift the school. But sorry, I don’t have same heart to pay tax to government, Sir!
PS: Featured image for representational Purpose only.