Kohima: After Naga peace talk interlocutor RN Ravi’s office said taxation can be exercised only by the Centre or the state government, the NSCN-IM, on Wednesday responded saying “nominal taxations will continue as it is” and that the “Naga nation does not require permission from the Government of India for taxation”.
The groups said it is “highly unbecoming” that Nagaland governor Ravi is “desperately trying to criminalize the Naga political movement by questioning the taxation right of the NSCN” after more than 23 years of Indo-Naga political dialogue.
“Placed under this situation, NSCN puts on record to go back to the history to point out that taxation is something which is deeply rooted in the history of the Naga resistance movement even before the Naga National Council (NNC) came into the scene. Now the focus has been shifted to National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) which is at the helm of affairs leading the Naga political struggle,” the groups said through a release from its MIP.
Citing the Naga history, the NSCN-IM said that tax collection is an inherent part of the Nagas way of political existence as sovereign people. It said that the NSCN collected taxes to support the Naga people’s political movement which started in 1929 even before the Indian independence.
“Opposing the Naga tax is nothing short of obstructing the Naga political movement and to let the Naga people to be enslaved by India,” it said. The group said that it is a “genuine political group and a government of the people with total commitment to finding an honourable political settlement” and so “it should not be treated at par with other outfits that have different objectives”.
NSCN-IM said other outfits who are working as agents of adversaries are taxing people and are remotely connected with the Naga political interest. “Naga are thus, made to suffer by the GoI under the garb of Naga Political Groups (NPGs),” it said.
The group said that as per the Framework Agreement, Nagas are masters of their lands and so India should not interfere in the internal matter of the sovereign Naga people. It said that the Government of India’s opposition to taxations by NSCN-IM instantly violates the FA as the “two entities have agreed to coexist peacefully as two different entities sharing sovereign power”.
Saying that taxation is the legitimate right of every government of a nation-state, the NSCN-IM said that Nagas declared their independence status as a sovereign nation a day ahead of India and has defended its sovereign right so far.
Terming the statement made by the GoI representative as “outrageous”, the NSCN-IM said that in the course of the Indo-Naga political talks which has passed through three “interlocutor-ships”, the “taxation right was acknowledged indicating that NSCN have the right to tax to carry on its movement and no fuss was made out of it”.
NSCN-IM accused that the press statement issued by Ravi’s office contradicts and violates the spirit of the hard-earned Indo-Naga talks. It said that following the signing of the FA, taxation was included in the competencies.
Further, it added saying “Certainly, it has become a serious matter of indignation on the statement of taxation that is so exasperating, inconsistent and banal that it speaks of the worst kind of undermining the Naga political issue. It has to be taken note that the sovereign rights of the Naga people to tax cannot be denied. Moreover, the Indo-Naga political talks are yet to be finalized as critical issues are waiting to be considered from the perspective of the Framework Agreement”.
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