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Perennial and perpetual

29 May. 2017 11:02 PM IST

Rightly or wrongly, Nagaland state has been more sinned against than sinning as writers from other states derive satisfaction in damning the state for the monumental corruption at all spheres of the government, which is equalled, if not surpassed by extortion which has percolated to every strata of society. Leaving aside the motives of such writers who mock development with regular mention of the pot holed roads of Nagaland, which is undeniable yet embarrassingly true; of all the ‘evils’ plaguing the state despite the empty religious rhetoric , there is no second opinion that ‘extortion’ has become the biggest Frankenstein in Nagaland. Due to it, there is no longer any guarantee for development, entrepreneurship and safety. A poisonous mix of gun and gang culture against the backdrop of entrenched powerful mafia dons appears to be pushing the law breakers and even juvenile offenders into the dark underworld. Anti-social syndrome is a problems and it would be valuable to understand the current social milieu that has influenced youths into waywardness. An irony of the entire extortion issue is that ACAUT’s declaration against paying ‘taxes’ to all and sundry unless they all unite for “One government. One tax’, hasn’t exactly cleared the mist. Taxes are constitutional obligations to raise revenue for providing services and built and maintain infrastructures for the benefit of the public. So it remains to be seen whether the objective, if achieved, could actually reverse the negative trends of blatant extortion. Everyone who has experienced or witnessed how extortions are carried out, knows what price it exacts on the victims by way of extreme tension and psychological trauma. The entire family is perpetually forced to live under a dark cloud, not knowing when the collectors would arrive to collect the exorbitant and unreasonable demand. Any effort to inform the law often causes more hardship and worse, even harm. The Dimapur Urban Councils Chairmen Federation(DUCCF) has reiterated that it will not collect ‘taxes’ for any Naga Political Groups(NPGs) unless all come together as per the October 31,2013 resolution of ‘One Government. One Tax’. In this regard, it is incumbent upon the state government to do what is needed in bringing out on public domain, the reports submitted in June 2015 by the Higher Power Committee(HPC) headed by a retired Supreme Court judge which was constituted in October 2014. The committee was constituted on the basis of a demand by ACAUT Nagaland to go into the entire gamut of unabated taxation which has been plaguing Nagaland for decades. Illegal, unauthorised or forcible taxation or under whatever category, has become a thriving industry particularly in Dimapur. During the past decade, extortions and illegal collections have mushroomed while the state government offered passive resistance and failed to protect its citizens from the predators. Most shamefully and regrettably, the state politicians had the insensitivity to even term such activities as politically related and therefore, not a crime or law and order issue. A concerted and determined effort needs to be done to eradicate the terrible menace of illegal cash collections going by the term-‘taxes’ or ‘membership fees’ or whatever name-which those involved choose to justify such illegal collections. People have to shoulder the responsibility to bring about changes. Unless they do it, their future will be doomed.

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