The Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or the NSCN (IM) has reduced its ‘tax’ rate in view of the “prevailing COVID-19 pandemic crisis”.
The outfit calls itself the National Socialist Council of Nagalim to differentiate from other factions.
The economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 lockdown is the stated objective of the NSCN (IM) for reducing the rate of “tax payable” to its government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim from 5% to 3%. But the decision follows the controversy in Nagaland over Governor R.N. Ravi’s June 16 letter to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio complaining about extortionist “armed groups” running the show in the State.
Outfit does not specify periodicity
The NSCN (IM) did not specify the periodicity of the “payable tax” but the outfit is known to levy 25% tax on a month’s income, payable once a year, of every salaried employee in the government or private sector. The group also levies “house tax” — separate flat rates for urban and rural areas — “commercial tax” on traders and “entry tax” for goods-carrying trucks besides sundry levies.
The NSCN (IM) is not the only organisation that levies such taxes. However, it is more organised than the others that collect ‘tax’ or ‘donation’ at random.
Reacting to the Governor’s letter, almost all the organisations justified their taxes. They said such collections go to running the administration of their legitimate governments.
A resistance has been building up in Nagaland against multiple taxes by various organisations. The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxations, an organisation formed in 2017, has been asking all the extremist groups to come together so that the people get some relief by paying “one tax to one government”.
Probe into letter ‘leak’
The Nagaland police’s cyber crime branch has reportedly been probing how the Governor’s letter to the Chief Minister was ‘leaked’ to social media on June 25.
Manoj Kumar, SP (Crime), was quoted as saying details could not be revealed “at this stage as it will hamper the investigation”.
Mr. Rio’s government, of which the BJP is a constituent, had on July 2 reacted to the Governor’s letter underlining the deteriorating law and order because of “gunpoint extortions”.
The government insisted the situation has improved vastly compared to three decades ago. It also criticised the Governor for trying to control certain aspects of governance by invoking a Nagaland-specific constitutional provision the Assembly had ended through a resolution in December 2013.
The counter has not satisfied the State’s Opposition parties. The Naga People’s Front said the government’s statement was “nothing but an assorted collection of distorted facts and figures to deceive the Governor and the Naga people at large”.
Congress leader K. Therie termed the government’s claim of ‘normal’ law and order as an insult to the State’s people. “There are multi-parallel governments, whose writs are more feared than that of the State government,” he said.