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Nagaland

Nagas sound war-cry on illegal taxation

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By EMN Updated: Nov 01, 2013 12:18 am
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Staff Reporter
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 31

UNDER a warm October morning, atleast twenty thousand Nagas-of all tribes and age groups-held hands, lifted it up towards the heavens and sang in unison the popular protest anthem “We shall overcome” at the Clock Tower in Dimapur.
Even as the song, synonymous with Civil Rights Movement since 1959, reverberated across downtown Dimapur on Thursday morning, it was heavy with the undertones of a battle-cry. The gathering twenty thousand odd people at the ACAUT-led Public Awareness Rally in itself was an act of defiance.
Held under the shadow of a vigorous campaign by the NSCN (IM) to prevent the rally from taking place, the message send across from Thursday’s event at Clock Tower was that the people of Nagaland are not against any faction or Naga political group.
“We have not come here to fight with any factions. We have come here to reason,” said the retired bureaucrat, Khekiye K Sema while addressing the rally. The “reasoning” package included the rider that the rival Naga factions must unite.
“One tax, one government,” was the unanimous demand of the public gathered at the rally. “Let the world hear this,” bellowed Sema to a deafening chorus of “yes! yes!” from the crowd. This demand for “One tax, one government” was one of the three resolutions unanimously taken in the rally.
To communicate this sentiment of the Naga people to the various Naga political groups, Sema called for a second Naga Plebiscite. “Let us have a second Plebiscite. Only then the factions will understand (our sentiment),” he suggested.
Retaliation or aggression by the Naga political groups would only help to trigger a revolution, Sema felt. “The first body to fall down will signal the start of a revolution in Nagaland.”
“Why are there so many factions? Why can’t they unite? How many types of sovereignty and independence are they going to bring to us? Are we fighting for independence just so that we could die? What is the use of sovereignty if there is no one left to enjoy it?” Sema wondered.
Each rhetoric was met with deafening rounds of approval, the streets transformed into a channel of accumulated angst and frustration. “This is the first step towards the change that we want to see in Nagaland.
“My only regret and surprise is that none of the other districts have the courage to do what Dimapur is doing. Are there no men-folk left?” Sema shared, perhaps unaware that many youth from the other districts were also at the rally.
He also suggested that the Naga people, “of all the districts”, should have a “serious Naga rally” to drive home the message to all the parties involved in the Naga political dialogue that “we are tired” of the long negotiations. “We have to appreciate that there is someone keeping the torch burning. We do support the group engaged in talks with the Indian government.
“But it is time for us to say that we are tired and want a solution immediately. It is time for us to force the hands of destiny.”
President of the newly formed Nagaland Tribes Council, T Solo pointed out that the Naga freedom movement, in the first place, had started in protest against taxation, albeit by the British colonial rulers. And today in Nagaland, he jested, “only the sunshine is not taxed.”
“Nowhere in the world are taxes collected at gunpoint,” Solo said. Guns, he said, are meant to be used on enemies and not to kill/threaten “brothers or civilians.” “Use the guns against the Indian armies not on Naga brothers,” Solo said in a message directed to the Naga political groups.
Co-convener of Action Committee against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT), Joel Nillo Kath reminded the crowd that the ACAUT had intimated both the state government and the Naga political groups to set the issue of illegal taxation and multiple collections in order, in the past months.
Their failure to redress the issue had forced the ACAUT to call for the public rally to demonstrate “the stance of the Naga public”, he said.
For the President of Naga Council Dimapur (NCD), Bangerloba, Thursday’s rally was the “beginning of a social awakening.” Initially, the ACAUT was formed under the stewardship of NCD.
“Till the grievances of the people and the menace of illegal and unabated taxation go unresolved, the public should understand that we need to work together until we triumph one day,” he said.
Advisor to Naga Mothers’ Association, Rosemary Dzuvichu underscored the need for the state government to play its role and protect the citizens. “The state government must play its role. They cannot allow the public to be threatened.
“Their inaction has forced the Nagas to go against one another. There should be no more threats and bloodsheds,” she shared.
Other speakers at the rally included representatives from the Ao Senden, ENPO, Naga Students’ Federation and a social networking forum, The Naga Blog.
Schools and colleges remained closed even as a huge number of students, wearing their respective uniforms, turned up at the rally. Business establishments also downed shutters for the duration of the rally.

‘One Government, One Taxation’

ACAUT-led mass rally adopts 3-point resolution 

EMN
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 31

UNDER the umbrella of “People’s Power”, a 3-Point Resolution was passed during the function which is legitimate, true and binding on the state government and Naga Political Groups both. These are:
1. The Naga public recognizes “One Government One Taxation” only and the Naga public has decided to pay only one tax to one entity. This also means that as long as factionalism exists, the Naga public shall not pay tax.
2. The Naga public re-affirms its support for Naga movement and strongly urges the Government of India to settle the Indo-Naga imbroglio at the earliest.
3. The Government of Nagaland should constitute a high powered committee within 15 days to study the whole gamut of unabated taxations and illegal collections involving the NPGs and government agencies/departments. The committee shall consist of at least 5 (five) members headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court with at least 2 members from the ACAUT. The committee should submit its report within 2 months with its findings published in all the newspapers. In the event of the government failing to constitute the committee within the said period, the ACAUT will initiate further action in consultation with public.
(Source: ACAUT)

Street play draws cheers

NO sooner than the impassioned speeches were over, the crowd of twenty thousand Nagas found themselves gazing into the reflections of their own daily lives through a humorous yet aptly written street-play.
Enacted by theater artistes from Dreamz Unlimited and Lytel Feathers, the play struck an even deeper chord among the crowd through its depiction of the hardships faced by an ordinary Naga family, forced to live under the dreadful shadows of taxation and illegal collection.
Using many short, and often humorous, sub-plots, the play wove together scenes involving women begging for money from neighbors, a family man contemplating a manual job at a Tea Estate in Assam when the burden of taxation finally becomes unbearable, a minister/officer scheming for his percentage cut and ordinary people planning to resist taxation only to turn into statues in front of “tax collectors.”
The scenes, played to a soundtrack in parts, through their simplicity and honesty immediately connected with the crowd. The crescendo of the rally hit another level.
The situation of the characters in the play, a struggling family man, vegetable vendors, youth and bodyguards of VIP all struck a chord with the crowd. The crowd too, struggled with the protagonist when he sought to ask “We are not saying that we won’t pay tax. We only want to know why so many taxes to so many factions?”

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By EMN Updated: Nov 01, 2013 12:18:46 am