Government employees in Nagaland are “always under threat and extreme duress from various outfits” and the NIA should “exercise restraint” and be lenient towards those government employees who have been arrested for aiding extortion by the outfits, the Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC) said on Tuesday.
The CNTC, in a statement in Kohima also said that government officials were always at the receiving end when some factions impose “taxes” on the public, and thus should be dealt with “restraint” by the NIA while trying to put an end to collection of illegal taxes by the outfits.
“The government officers arrested were all acting under immense pressure and coercion and so they should be shown some leniency for which they had no other alternative,” the CNTC statement said. “Some factions are adamant to impose taxes on the public and government employees for which they are always at the receiving end,” it said.
“It is difficult to provide security to every official at all times, because government employees are always under threat and extreme duress from various outfits. Thus we appeal to the NIA to exercise restraint on those state government employees and officers of Nagaland presently arrested in the extortion case for allegedly providing substantial amounts from the government funds to some underground outfits,” the CNTC statement said.
The CNTC statement came about a week after the NSCN(K) had warned that it would “not tolerate” any government officer helping the NIA in stopping collection of “prescribed taxes” from the people. The NSCN(K) also warned “conniving traitor officials” of any consequence and said that the NIA should be held accountable for such consequences.
“The NSCN shall not tolerate any departmental authorities collaborating with NIA and at the same time not only deny usual prescribed taxes but also challenge the NSCN authority while treacherous elements are being freely entertained. Punitive actions shall be exacted against the conniving traitor officials individually and NIA must be held accountable for any consequence,” the NSCN(K) had said last week.
The NIA had last on April 26 arrested three Nagaland government officials – two of them joint directors – in Kohima for their alleged involvement in extorting money and collecting illegal tax on behalf of the NSCN(K) and other banned outfits from various government departments.
The three officials in their official capacity provided substantial amount of money to the NSCN(K) faction by way of contributing government funds to the banned outfit, thereby supporting the NSCN(K) in its unlawful activities, the NIA had said.
The NSCN(K) on its part also accused the NIA of trying to create chasms between the Naga national workers (read ‘outfits’) and the “sympathising Naga general public” and said that it had failed to investigate into any case of “actual corruption” despite popular public outcry against corruption in the state.
Describing the “anti-Naga and anti-people intent, policies and actions of the NIA” as pre-mediated, the NSCN(K) said arresting several state government officials for their alleged nexus with NSCN(K) was a desperate attempt to veil its frustration and failure to stem the Naga struggle.
Justifying that “taxation always formed an integral part of Naga self-governance” the NSCN(K) also described “taxation” as a “conscious political exercise of the Naga people that legitimises the mandated national aspiration for sovereign independence” which the outfit upholds.
“The common Nagas are ever supportive and find common ground with the NSCN’s self-governing mechanism of taxes, donations, stipulations etc,” it said.