Kohima: The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has termed the NSCN (IM)’s assertion as “distortion of history” for the back and forth over legitimacy of taxation by Naga Political Groups (undergrounds) continued to simmer, the Congress now questioning the NSCN (IM)’s justification and the Interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R. N. Ravi’s recently asserted taxation as a sovereign function exercised only by the Government of India and State Governments.
In the statement, NPCC President K Therie said to the history of taxation in the Naga Hills and cited a relationship shared by the Khezhanuo (Kuzhankhruo) and the Khuzami. At the time, he said that the former paid “tribute” to the latter as a symbol of “unity and commitment to stand together in times of invasion by other forces.” According to Therie, tribute was “not a tax and was paid by those who wished to keep unity.” This transformed into “House tax” levied under the British Raj, he said. While stating that the Naga Club’s Memorandum to the Simon Commission was “the original rhyme and reason for the political movement,” he reminded that the Nagas have struggled for 90 years and it was voluntary, initially. He recalled, “In 1954 when NNC decided to form FGN they later decided to raise 1 National worker from amongst ten households and these ten houses are responsible to help cultivate the fields and also provide food.” However, he held that it distorted after the NNC/FGN split in 1980.
“Recruitment was then made to share extortion amounts. Demands were given to Village leaders and leaders threatened with dire consequences for which many started paying under coercion. None of these funds are used for development neither auditable to the public.”
Nowadays, Nagaland pays tax to “11 factions and police,” and also to the “United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT), Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force (NRHPF) and Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA), besides ULFA” while in transit. Therie said Government and Constitution in Nagaland exists for “siphoning” state fund and demanded the Chief Minister “to make clear his stand” on taxation by Naga Political Groups. Central Government is aware that the Constitution of India is no more in Nagaland. It has collapsed and the State Government is a subordinate Government to various factions including those from Assam.”
While stating that 24 per cent of Government employees’ salaries are deducted at source and given away, he said, “Sharing of development is now systemised and everyone in Government also gets benefit. Funds released are known by the insurgents before the beneficiaries. Many of the projects remain unverifiable although funds were drawn, according to AG Reports. The larger chunk is taken by Ministers, MLAs and the Government employees involved in the development Bills. The insurgents collect not only from DDOs, but from Contractors and Suppliers too. The entire budget vanishes into thin air at Kohima. It does not percolate down to the Districts anymore,” the NPCC said.