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Since 1st March, 1999
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Militants fleece non-Naga traders

Kohima, Dec. 6: Incidents of extortion continue unabated in Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, despite additional security deployment as home minister Imkong L. Imchen today expressed concern over the rise in number of abductions.

This year, over 100 businessmen have been abducted for ransom, but the number could be more as many have not reported to police, fearing retaliation from the outfits.

Now, the NSCN is also issuing trade permits to shops and business establishments in and around Dimapur by charging Rs 500.

Sources here said another businessman had been abducted for ransom recently from Dimapur.

Dimapur was shut down for three days last month after Hariram Gupta, a non-Naga businessman, was abducted by Naga militants. He was released after paying Rs 5 lakh. The police have identified the militants and the group involved in the abduction but so far no one has been arrested.

The Dimapur Chamber of Commerce said it would shut down the town again if the militants were not booked.

A prominent businessman from Dimapur said the special security arrangement for Dimapur had not worked as incidents of extortion had increased with Christmas and New Year celebrations drawing near. Militant groups have started serving demand letters to shops and business establishments in and around Dimapur demanding cash as donation or contribution.

John (named changed), a Naga businessman, said the cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) had come to his shop on ADC Court Road to collect donations for Christmas but when he wanted to give Rs 100, they refused to accept on the ground that the amount was too less.

“This is purely a case of extortion and not donation,” John said, adding that other groups including the GPRN/NSCN of Khaplang faction, the Naga National Council and the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) factions also came to collect money.

“The state government has totally failed to rein in the militants in Dimapur,” he said. Another Naga businessman said FGN cadres had asked him to pay Rs 1,000 and took away a Bolero tyre which cost around Rs 8,000. “What would I do? This is how we are running shops in Dimapur,” he said.

Now the NSCN is also issuing trade permits to shops and business establishments in and around Dimapur by charging Rs 500.

Another non-Naga businessman showed a receipt of trade permit issued by Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim (GPRN) of Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah. Without trade permits from GPRN people cannot run shops and business establishments in and around Dimapur.

The GPRN/NSCN is also conducting census of non-Nagas in Dimapur area and issuing “inner line permit” by charging Rs 200.

A similar exercise was also carried out in Kohima by the NSCN that issued “inner line permits” to the non-Nagas. The GPRN/NSCN has also announced that it would its own calendars for Rs 150.

Imchen today said money collection drive by the militants had caused much concern in Naga society.

Incidents of abduction and extortion by different Naga underground factions were on the rise, he said.

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