Kohima, May 27: The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) and a Naga civil organisation-backed Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) are heading for a collision over “tax” collection by militants in Nagaland.
The ACAUT was formed a year back by the Naga Council Dimapur to fight against unabated collection of “taxes” by different militant groups in and around Dimapur. It has held several public rallies across the state and the response so far was encouraging but the NSCN (I-M) cautioned that such a movement would sabotage the ongoing Naga peace process.
But the ACUAT today said it was concerned about the ongoing “tax” collection by different groups and prevailing corruption in the state departments.
“We are equally concerned about the corruption taking place in the departments,” said Joel Nillo Kath, the co-chairman of ACAUT.
He said the NSCN (I-M) has misunderstood their genuine movement. “We are not against Naga nationalism,” he said adding that they were against the unabated illegal taxations and collections by Naga groups and government agencies.
The ACUAT is the brainchild of a retired IAS officer, Khekiye Sema. He has been a strong critic of the Naga outfits which have been “taxing” people in the name of Naga nationalism.
At present, only the NSCN (I-M) is in the peace process with the Union government while the Centre said it would not have talks with other Naga outfits, though some of them are in truce with the security forces.
Recently, the ACAUT organised rallies at Zunheboto, Phek and Pfutsero to garner support. Kath said multiple taxation and illegal collection start right from the entry gates where different militants and government agencies charge exorbitant rates in the form of yearly tax on vehicle, transport, and goods entry on every item, including essential commodities. He said adding to taxation woes at checkgates, every item was again taxed at different levels as godown tax, shop tax, shop registration tax and non-local employees ID card tax by all the different outfits. He said militant groups started the system of “dealership” in almost all the commodities whereby only a small coterie of businessmen were allowed to deal in those commodities. It is the stand of ACAUT that no products/produce in the market should be under the grip of illegal syndicate or syndicates.
“The ACAUT has also embarked on a statewide tour and has reached out to the people and NGOs of Mon, Longleng, Tuensang, Mokokchung and Tsiminyu in first phase and Meluri, Pfutsero, Phek, Kiphire and Zunheboto in second phase. It plans to reach out to the districts of Peren and Kohima in the third phase,” Kath said.