GUWAHATI: Traders in Nagaland have confronted the state government over collection of “taxes” by armed groups. Shops and commercial establishments across the state remained closed on Thursday, protesting the state government’s inaction against armed groups.
Businesses owners in the state say they are having to pay multiple taxes, sometimes to as many as 10 armed groups, including the well-known factions of National Socialist Council of Nagaland/Nagalim or NSCN.
For years, the traders and business owners quietly paid taxes to the armed groups over fears for their life. Now, they have started speaking up. There is hardly any action from the government against the armed groups collecting taxes, traders say.
The Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CNCCI) asked the state government to act. “We have asked the government to clarify if this is legal or illegal. If the government says this is illegal, it has to control this with the help of resources and manpower that it has at its disposal. If the government says it is legal, we have to increase the prices of commodities manifold because we have to survive,” CNCCI chairman Khekugha Muru told this newspaper.