GUWAHATI: A tribal community in Nagaland has declared that it will not pay “taxes” to the myriad extremist groups in the state unless they unite for the greater cause of the Nagas.
The leaders of the Konyak community made the declaration at a “historic event” held in Mon district.
There are over a dozen extremist groups in Nagaland and barring one, the others are lying low following their signing of separate ceasefire agreements with the Centre. These groups run parallel governments and survive on multiple taxes collected from all and sundry. Defiance had led to many untoward incidents in the past.
The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) was the first civil society organisation in the insurgency-ravaged state to speak up against taxation by the groups. The ACAUT had led a public movement a few years ago, insisting on “one government, one tax”. However, no community, perhaps, ever made a declaration not to pay the taxes like the Konyaks.
A statement issued by the Konyak leaders from various spheres of life said ever since the beginning of the Naga independence movement, the Konyaks, or for that matter, the other Naga tribes, had “endorsed sovereignty/integrity to protect the people and their land despite suffering “brutality” at the hands of “Indian military” but even after such sacrifices, the Naga “national workers” continued to remain divided.
They said the division not only burdened the communities with multiple taxes but it also acted as an impediment in achieving an early and acceptable solution to the vexed “Naga political problem”.
Insisting on the slogan of “unity first”, the Konyaks resolved that they would temporarily refrain from paying the taxes to any group until they stand united for a unified Naga solution. They asked all concerned to adhere to the “Konyak Referendum until further affirmation”.
The Centre has been long holding separate peace negotiations with the Naga National Political Groups, which is a conglomerate of eight rebel groups, and the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM. However, the much-talked-about solution continues to elude all parties.