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Rebels free NGO activist

Kohima, Aug. 2: An anti- “tax” activist who was taken into custody by militants was released this afternoon following protests by his colleagues and other people.

The secretary of Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT), an NGO, Solomon L. Awomi, who was taken into custody by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khole-Kitovi) on July 31 for questioning, has been released after he was made to sign a paper.

The NSCN (KK) has de-recognised ACAUT.

Yesterday, members of the organisation went to the designated camp of the NSCN (KK) at Khehoyi, about 15km from Dimapur, in the evening and demanded Awomi’s release.

The outfit had assured to release him soon after a thorough interrogation on the NGO’s activities against “taxation”.

The outfit was irked by ACAUT for sending letters to government departments urging them not to pay “taxes” to Naga outfits.

The NSCN (KK) said it would not tolerate such activity adding that the organisation cannot decide who is Naga and who is anti-Naga.

Recently the organisation has asked all government departments not to pay “taxes” to the outfits.

The ACAUT was formed last year by the Naga Council Dimapur after unabated taxation by militants. There are at least seven Naga outfits collecting “taxes” besides other Northeast outfits operating from Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland.

The NGO said it was not going against Naga nationalism, but is against unabated taxation which has taken a toll on Naga people.

The Naga outfits hold the view that ACAUT’s steps would have ramifications on Naga political issue. They have also demanded that the state government constitute a high-power committee to look into the issue of unabated “taxation”. They have even blamed the Centre for the protracted Indo-Naga political problem. The anti-taxation activists have flayed government’s inability to curb unabated taxation by outfits.