Kohima, Aug. 12: Churches in Nagaland have come out strongly against illegal collection of money by militants in the name of Naga nationalism.
The church, which has been silent for quite sometime now despite the hue and cry from several quarters regarding unabated collection and extortion by militant outfits, has come out in support of Naga NGOs, especially the Naga Council Dimapur, which has formed the action committee against unabated taxation to counter the menace.
Though the NSCN (I-M) has warned the committee for allegedly having a nexus with certain agencies focussed on challenging the authority of the rebel government, the latter has found support in several Naga organisations.
The outfit said the committee’s movement was taking a political shape at the behest of certain elements, falling short of mentioning the Centre.
New Delhi has already directed the state government to provide security to the members of the committee.
The so-called “taxation” and extortion by militants has led to a steep rise in prices of essential commodities in the state. Many top functionaries of the NSCN (I-M) are also engaged in the syndicate, controlling trades in the state.
While the committee wants the outfit to stop this, NSCN (I-M) said it has the right to levy taxes on the people, as its members are the sole representatives of the people of Nagalim (Nagaland).
The Theological Colleges Association and Dimapur Sumi Baptist Church Youth Department have extended their support to the committee to fight against unabated taxation and extortion by militants.
James Longkumer, a member of the colleges association, said unlawful taxation was a cause for serious concern and so was the inappropriate way business was done in the state.
He said such unlawful activities had hampered local entrepreneurs from doing business and at the same time, led to unrestricted price-rise for all kinds of commodities.
The association also said it would support the committee to free Nagaland from all forms of oppression, especially in the area of economic sovereignty, while espousing firm belief that the day was not far when Naga people would triumph over all evil forces that had kept them in bondage.
The Sumi Baptist youths said Nagas had been bleeding for long and the silence of the people and organisations had been taken for granted by the militants.
The NSCN (I-M) said it would bring about certain changes in the taxation system and that efforts would be made to check illegal collection by unauthorised organisations and outfits.
But it said every Naga and others residing in Nagalim would have to pay tax to the nation (Nagalim) for the national cause.