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Dimapur residents to tackle militants

Kohima, July 15: Naga organisations have decided to jointly take on the state’s militant outfits whose extortion demands are exceeding the level of tolerance.

The Naga Council Dimapur has decided to form a special public committee to study the extortion demands and other disruptive activities of the outfits.

Council president Savi Liegise said the committee would be formed with representatives from all Naga tribes and added that the results of the study would be submitted to the state government for concrete and sustainable measures to tackle the nefarious activities of the outfits.

The Nagaland Baptist Church Council, an influential church organisation, has also taken strong exception to the spate of extortions and taxation by the outfits in the name of nationalism.

NBCC Peace Committee chairman Huzo Meru said prices of all essential commodities and materials had risen exorbitantly because of extortion, making the poor poorer. “This is not taxation, it amounts to extortion and exploitation,” he said.

Meru warned militant outfits that the cry of the people would not go in vain and that sooner or later it would invoke God’s curse upon them.

He said the Naga political movement was a people’s movement and belonged to the people and added that no group should have the monopoly over the basic right to self-determination.

He said if Nagas were united and had one voice they could achieve their goal. “Guns, factions and cursed money will never achieve anything, except prolonging sorrow and misery,” he added.

Sources said Dimapur businessmen were also planning to down shutters indefinitely to protest against the increase in extortion drives. At a meeting held today to chalk out a course of action, they set Monday as the deadline for the state government to reign in the militant outfits, failing which they threatened to indefinitely close shops and business establishments in Dimapur district, one of the sources said.

Home minister Imkong Imchen, however, said he was not aware of the proposed strike. “I will speak to the district administration,” he said.

Liegise said citizens of Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, and the business community had been bearing the brunt of extortion for about two decades now and the magnitude of the outfit’s anti-social activities had increased of late.

The main task of the special public committee will be to study the cause of antisocial activities and try to evolve a sustainable mechanism to scale down the level of public disturbance, if not eradicate it. It will then submit a comprehensive report or a set of recommendations to the government for building a more congenial atmosphere in the commercial hub.

It will also meet at regular intervals, collect public opinion and coordinate with officials/authorities.

The commitee is expec- ted to submit its report by September.

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