Wokha puts foot down: Society says No to extortion
‘If we live, we live together; if we die, we die together’
Dimapur, June 11 : The community leaderships of Wokha have decided that the government departments and their rural development agencies such as the Village Development Board (VDB) in the district shall no longer tolerate the extortion, threats and ‘summons’ of the underground groups.
On Saturday, the core community leaderships of Wokha town gathered to confer on the disease of “demands,” “taxation” and ‘summons’ and threats from the armed organizations, besides the angle of ‘honesty’ of the community leaders themselves.
Following the meeting, the Wokha civil society has the years of raised their hands to a pledge of courage and anger that, henceforth, no public or village leader shall be summoned by any underground group, government departments and VDB will be held responsible if they are found paying money to the undergrounds or ‘any person’ and that the public will move against any eventuality of arrest or ‘summon’ of any community or village leader.
The decisions have been taken in reaffirmation of the October 31, 2013, public resolution against extortion or “taxation,” the Wokha unit of the ACAUT stated in a statement on behalf of the community leaderships in the meeting.
The frustration was summarized in the leaders’ pledge: “If we are to live, we shall live together and if we die, we shall die together.”
The Wokha unit of the ACAUT conducted a meeting with all Gaon Bura and members of the Village Development Boards in the district, and frontal tribal organizations of Wokha district. The meeting was conducted on Saturday morning in the Lotha Tribal Council Hall.
The community introduced issues such as the “demands” and “summons” issued by the Naga underground factions. Besides, the community discussed issues of “dedication, truth and honesty of every leader irrespective of village/ jobs while in the service of the people etc.”
After thorough deliberations, the press release stated, a number of resolutions were undertaken with a pledge to pursue.
The community leaders have reaffirmed the public resolution of October 31, 2013 that commits to paying only to a single unified group: ‘one government; one tax.’
The resolutions read (paraphrased):
No public leader or village leader shall be allowed to be summoned anywhere, anytime by any Naga underground organization or individual without the knowledge of the ACAUT.
Should there be any problem or hassle created by any person or undergrounds, the matter shall be dealt seriously with the person in concern at the personal or individual level.
If any head of department or VDB secretary is found paying money to any underground group, the individual in concern shall be held fully responsible. An FIR shall be immediately filed against him.
“If any village/ leader/ ACAUT leader is summoned or arrested, the whole of Lotha community shall move in solidarity to be with the village or person,” another resolution added.
The organizations also noted that ‘some’ VDB secretaries were paying “taxes” to the underground groups against the wishes of the people. “Therefore, the ACAUT Wokha unit endorses the matter to the Wokha District VDB Association to verify and submit the result to the ACAUT Wokha unit within seven days from the date of this publication,” the statement said.
“If we are to live we shall live together and if we die we shall die together,” the resolutions read.
Besides the district units, the co-convener of the central ACAUT, Joel Nilo, and Hetoi, of the public grievances cell, also joined the meeting at the latter part of the function.
In his address, Joel Nilo observed that Wokha was the only district in Nagaland where all the frontal organizations had come united on the matter of ‘one government, one tax,’ or corruption and extortion.
“ACAUT Nagaland wishes to see the same even in the future. He also hopes that the others tribes and districts of Nagaland will take it as an example for Nagaland to grow. He said in unity there is strength,” the Wokha unit said.
The district administration and the police division of Wokha district have been appreciated for their providing security to the people during the meeting.