Chief negotiator of the NSCN-IM Th Muivah at Camp Hebron Credit: File image

Kohima: “NSCN is the recognised and legitimate national organisation of the Naga people and not a gang,” said NSCN-IM in response to Nagaland governor and interlocutor for Naga peace talks RN Ravi’s statement where he recently highlighted about “rampant extortions and violence by the armed gangs” in the state.

The NSCN-IM also said that in the history of UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization), “no gang has found its place as member” as only “legitimate political organizations of peoples and nations are admitted in the fold of UNPO” to which NSCN is a bona fide member. “Many pseudo-organizations tried to find their way into UNPO but failed to pass the final scrutiny,” it claimed.

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The NSCN-IM’s statement comes as a response to a letter written by Ravi to the chief minister of Nagaland where he said that the “organized armed gangs” are running “syndicates” and levying “illegal taxes on every item”. Through the letter, the governor expressed “concern” that “over half a dozen organized armed gangs” are “brazenly running their respective so called ‘Governments’ challenging the legitimacy of the State Government without any resistance from the State law and order machinery” which has created a crisis of confidence in the system”.

Through a press statement from the MIP, the NSCN-IM responded saying that it is the inherent right of any sovereign people and nation to collect taxes from the people and commercial establishments and that “taxes have been the sources of sustenance that has brought the Naga political movement this far”.

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“This was legitimately acknowledged by the earlier Interlocutors and Indian authorities and it was never an issue,” said the NSCN-IM further adding that it does not “commit extortion at any point of time but levies legitimate taxes from the people”. The group said that the situation has been complicated due to the madness of ‘extortions’ that are being carried out by some groups in the guise of freedom fighters.

The NSCN-IM also said any interlocutor who represents the Government of India needs to prove “himself as a man who stands committed to solve the longest political conflict in Southeast Asia”.

“But if he finds pleasure to handle the Naga issue as a ‘law and order’ problem he is not the right person to solve the long standing Indo-Naga problem. Such an Indian Interlocutor will rather complicate and prolong the process which is not the desire of both the Indians and the Nagas,” the statement read.

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The NSCN-Im said that although twenty three years of Indo-Naga political talks have come down in the history of the world as the longest period of political negotiations, the complexity of the issue has delayed the process of finalizing the agreement.

While the Indo-Naga ceasefire created offshoots of “pseudo-nationalists” who proved as “commercialized organizations” and were “least connected with the Naga issue”. “NSCN is the recognized and legitimate national organization of the Naga people and not a gang,” it claimed.

It said that the Indo-Naga political talks have passed into the hands of six Prime Ministers of India and the “light at the end of the tunnel got brighter when the historic Framework Agreement was signed on 3rd August, 2015, supervised and guided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi” which recognized the “sovereign right of the Naga people on the basis of the unique history of the Nagas and stressed on peaceful co-existence of the two entities sharing sovereign power”.

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Nagaland governor RN Ravi has earlier said that the “Constitutionally established State Government is being challenged on day to day basis by the armed gangs who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation while the instruments of law and order remain totally unresponsive”.

As he “can no longer abstain from my Constitutional obligations for law and order in the State under Article 371 A (1) (b) of the Constitution of India”, the governor proposed important law and order decisions like transfer and posting of officials entrusted with maintenance of law and order responsibilities of and above the District level will be done after the approval of the Governor.

He also proposed to periodically review the law and order in the State and issue required lawful directions and to review the Annual Performance Appraisal Reports of all officers in order to instill and ensure accountability.

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