The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)-led coalition government
headed by chief minister Neiphiu Rio is yet to react to Nagaland governor R.N.
Ravi’s hard-hitting letter on the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, but a major insurgent group - the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) -- responded saying that it doesn’t "extort" people but levies "legitimate taxes" on them.
While Mr Ravi, who is also the interlocutor for the ongoing peace talks with the NSCN (I-M) and others, had not named any specific insurgent group in his letter, the NSCN (I-M) asserted that it "levies legitimate taxes, which is an inherent right of any sovereign people or nation".
Mr Ravi had in his letter said unrestrained depredations by over half a dozen "organised armed gangs", brazenly running their so-called "governments" and
challenging the legitimacy of the state government without any resistance from the state law and order machinery, created a crisis of confidence in the system.
The NSCN (I-M) claimed it is "neither a gang nor commits extortions. The practice of collecting taxes was legitimately acknowledged by earlier interlocutors and Indian authorities and it was never an issue.
The NSCN (I-M) is the recognised and legitimate national organisation of the Naga people, and not a gang".
Justifying their extortion and rebutting the Nagaland governor’s charges, it said: "What is significantly important is the inherent right of any sovereign people and
nation to collect taxes from the people and commercial establishments."
The NSCN (I-M) went on: "This is the universal practice as seen all over the world. Taxes have been the sources of sustenance that has brought the Naga political movement this far."
It also tried to blame other rebel groups for the law and order problem by obliquely stating: "What has complicated the situation as seen today is the madness of ‘extortions’ that are being carried out by some groups in the guise of freedom fighters. NSCN did not and does not commit extortion at any point but levies legitimate taxes from the people."...