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Central interlocutor for peace talks warns that illegal 'taxes' imposed by Naga groups were punishable by law

·2-min read

Kohima, Jun 22 (PTI) The Central government has affirmed that forcible collection of money by any political organisation is extortion and is punishable under the law.

The Central governments interlocutor Naga Peace Talks said statements by a Naga armed organisation claiming it had been given the right to tax people were incorrect and the power of taxation was a sovereign right of the central and state governments alone.

'A Naga armed organisation, engaged in the peace process has issued a statement recently that they have a right to collect tax from the people (and) further added that their right has also been recognized by the Representative of the government of India, having dialogue with them,' said Gurmeet Singh, OSD to Government of India Representative and Interlocutor for Naga Peace Talks (Ministry of Home Affairs) in a statement issued from New Delhi on Monday.

This he pointed out was far from being true.

'Taxation is a sovereign function which can be exercised only either by the government of India or the state government,' he pointed out.

The GoI does not recognize any such rights by any other entity, said Singh, adding that forcible collection of money by any entity is extortion which is a criminal offence punishable under the law.

In fact all the Naga armed organisations engaged in the peace process have given a commitment against such collection, he pointed out.

It may be mentioned that the NSCN(IM) in a statement on June 19 had said Collection of taxes by a government from its citizens is a legitimate right and it is not illegal at all. Even the representatives of the Government of India who are engaged in political dialogue with NSCN leaders recognize this right.

The NSCN(IM), however asserted that GPRN is opposed to extortions and excesses if ever committed by its collectors and that the `Government of the Peoples Republic of Nagalim (GPRN) of NSCN(IM) will deal strongly with such attempts.

Singh while reacting to the Naga group's statement said such an erroneous statement is likely to cause confusion among the people.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CNCCI) has asked all Naga political groups (NPGs) to immediately refrain from unabated taxation on the business community in the State.

The CNCCI in a statement on Monday alleged that `transportation tax imposed by various Naga groups as well as other forms of illegal taxes were behind soaring prices.

The CNCCI also appealed to the public to raise the question of price rise with the state government and NPGs.

CNCCI blamed the persistent multiple taxation for sucking the business community dry to death. PTI NBS JRC JRC

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