DIMAPUR: The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) today said the government of India opposing taxations by the NSCN instantly violates the Framework Agreement wherein the two entities have agreed to coexist peacefully as two different entities sharing sovereign power.
“Opposing the Naga tax is nothing short of obstructing the Naga political movement and to let the Naga people be enslaved by India,” NSCN-(IM) said in a release.
It said as per the Framework Agreement, the Nagas are the masters of their own lands both below and above. “So, why should India interfere in the internal matter of the sovereign Naga people,” it asked.
The outfit released the statement in reaction to Nagaland Governor and Naga talks interlocutor RN Ravi's comments on June 21 that the Government of India does not recognise tax collection by anybody other than itself or a state government.
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“Taxation is a sovereign function which can be exercised either by the government of India or the state government,” said Ravi.
He stated that coercive money collection by any entity constituted extortion, which is a crime punishable by law.
The NSCN (IM) said it is highly unbecoming of the Governor who is “desperately trying to criminalise” the Naga political movement by questioning the taxation right of the NSCN.
It sought 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.
The release said the NSCN collected taxes to support the Naga people’s political movement which started in 1929 even before India got independence from the British.
According to the release, taxation was there during the NNC time and now under National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) which has taken over to spearhead the Naga political movement.
It said the NSCN is a genuine political group and a government of the people with total commitment to find an honourable political settlement and it should not be treated at par with other outfits that have different objectives that are not going to benefit the Nagas in the final moment but only for temporary benefits.
The NSCN is not working for packages from the Government of India but for an honourable and acceptable political settlement with India and the nominal taxations will continue as it is, the release added.
“The irony is that while other outfits are taxing the people they work as the agents of adversaries that are remotely connected with the Naga political interest. Naga are thus, made to suffer by the Government of India under the garb of Naga Political Groups,” the NSCN (IM) further said.
The Naga nation does not require permission from the Government of India for taxation. “The matter remains loud and clear that at no point of time the Nagas became Indians either by conquest or consent. Thus, it is too farfetched for the Governor of Nagaland state to issue such an outrageous statement on taxation,” it stated.
It said during the course of Indo-Naga political talks, passing through the hands of three interlocutors, this taxation right was acknowledged indicating that the NSCN has the right to tax to carry on its movement and no fuss was made out of it.
The press statement issued by the Governor’s office contradicts this stand which violates the spirit of the hard-earned Indo-Naga talks crossing more than 23 years, the NSCN (IM) added.
It also said following the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015, this taxation was included in the competencies. “No one can deny these factual records of the Framework Agreement and the competencies," adding this the NSCN (IM) added that the sovereign rights of the Naga people to tax cannot be denied.
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