In a return to strikes, jewellers have declared a three-day strike from Monday against the Centre’s decision to impose 1% excise duty on gold items. They are even thinking of a ‘Bharat Band’ on April 28.
“We have decided to go on strike from April 25 to April 27 following a call from the All India Jewellers Association. We will keep our shops closed and participate in rallies and protests in Delhi. Our demand of rollback of 1% excise duty is still on our agenda,” said Rajender Verma, president, Noida Jewellers Welfare Association.
On Monday, all jewellery shops in Noida remained closed in support of the strike and city jewellers also participated in a rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, senior Janata Dal (united) leader Sharad Yadav, and Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Sachin Pilot and Raj Babbar also participated in the rally.
Earlier, jewellers had gone on strike for 44 days. The strike had begun on March 2, a day after the Centre’s 1% excise duty came into effect, and ended on April 13.
“We had postponed the strike, not called it off. We had to postpone it due to some reasons and now we are back with our demand. This time we will launch a much more aggressive strike, including a Bharat Bandh. We will continue till the Centre agrees to withdraw the excise duty on gold products,” said Verma.
The All India Bullion Jewellers Goldsmith Federation (AIBJGF), which held a meeting in Delhi on Sunday, will decide the future course of action on the evening of April 27.
“AIBJGF is the apex and joint body of gold traders of India. All associations trading in gold and ornaments at any level are members of this association. We will follow all the commands of the association,” said Ram Avtar, a jeweller.