The big extortion game in Arunachal, army nabs three with militant links for 'house tax' collection
3 extortionists with militant connections held in Arunachal

Tinsukia. Three persons with alleged links to the Yung Aung faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Khaplang) were arrested by security forces in Arunachal’s Tirap district for collecting extortion in the name of ‘house tax’ from locals on Monday.

The accused were identified as Windup Aeyen Sawin (55), Samloi Moidam (40) and Jotoan Socia (35).

According to an army source, “We launched an operation based on information of extortion collection from various villages in Tirap district by a group of NSCN (KYA) cadres led by SS Captain Rocky Thapa. The Digboi battalion, under the Spear Corps of the Army, nabbed three persons, including two linkmen, when they were collecting extortion money in the name of ‘house tax’ from villagers under Deomali circle and recovered Rs 53,200 in cash.”

House tax is a type of fixed extortion collected by kilo kilonser (home minister) of all Naga militant outfits operating in Arunachal Pradesh.

“Underground outfits demand around Rs 500 per annum from each household in villages, numbering to around 100 houses in a village (the number differs from village to village),” another source in the security agencies engaged in operations in Arunachal Pradesh told Eastmojo. “The villagers negotiate it somewhere between RS 200 to 500. Though this amount is meagre, it adds up when collected from various villages. However, all villagers are not paying house tax,” the source added. 

In addition, the chaplie kilonser (finance minister), who looks after the income and expenditure of the outfit, collects extortion from various projects under the different departments in the area, for which a percentage is fixed and the contractor involved ends paying it, according to security agency sources.

The money is passed to the chairman for various activities of the outfit. “Then there is the military and tour tax,” the source said, adding, “The arrest will serve as a blow to the rampant extortion activities of the outfit, but much more is to be done to take on the organised extortion racket flourishing in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

On April 1, the Indian Government, through a notification, extended the “disturbed” tag for three districts in Arunachal Pradesh under the AFSPA for six more months. 

“Now, Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and areas falling within the jurisdiction of the following four police stations in other districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the state of Assam, are declared as ‘disturbed area’ under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 up to March 31, 2020, with effect from October 1, 2019, unless withdrawn earlier,” the notification said.

The four police stations are Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district, Roing police station in Lower Dibang Valley district and Sunpura police station in Lohit district. 

All attempts to speak to the superintendent of Tirap district K. Riba turned futile.

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