Kohima: Responding to an “erroneous statement” made by “a Naga armed organisation”, the office of the government of India’s (GoI) representative and interlocutor for Naga peace talks on Monday clarified that taxation can be exercised only by the Centre or the state government.

The clarification came after the NSCN-IM recently said that collection of taxes from its citizens is a “legitimate right” and GoI representatives engaged in political dialogue with its leaders have recognised this right.

“Such an erroneous statement is likely to cause confusion among the people. Taxation is a sovereign function which can be exercised only by the government of India or the state government,” an official statement from Gurmeet Singh, OSD to Gol representative and interlocutor for Naga peace talks, said.

“The government of India does not recognise any such right by any other entity,” it added.

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“Forcible collection of money by any entity is extortion, which is a criminal offence punishable under the laws. In fact, all the Naga armed organisations engaged in the peace process have given a commitment against such collection,” it added.

The NSCN-IM had earlier slammed its critics for leveling “false allegations” on collection of taxes by its “government” claiming the collection of taxes by a government from its citizen is “nothing illegal at all”, adding that it is “opposed to extortions”.

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