Reiterating its stand on collection of tax from the people, the group said it had to collect tax from the Naga-inhabited areas of Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Myanmar to support its members in foreign countries. The outfit also warned the Action Committee against Unabated Taxation of Naga Council Dimapur. The committee had asked the people not to pay tax to the militants.
The NSCN (I-M) alleged that the action committee was hand-in-glove with its adversaries to undermine Naga nationalism and the outfit would never tolerate this. The outfit said it has regional offices all over the Naga-inhabited areas to protect the Naga people. “Hundreds of our forces are in alee command (foreign command) in various countries for mobilisation and sensitisation purposes,” a release said.
The NSCN (I-M) has a strong base in Bangladesh from where arms are supplied to the outfit’s camps in the region. It also has offices in the US, Germany, Netherlands, China, Thailand, Japan, the Philippines and the UK.
In Nagaland, the NSCN (I-M) has several battalion and brigade headquarters, apart from its council headquarters, general headquarters and special task force battalion, 30km from Dimapur. The release said the outfit is the member of a number of international organisations. It is a permanent member of Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organisation (UNPO) in The Hague. According to intelligence sources, the outfit spends thousands of dollars to maintain its offices abroad.
“The peace process has been under way since 1997 and more than 83 rounds of talks have been held in different parts of the world. Socio-cultural promotion and political activism has been on through different channels,” the NSCN (I-M) release said. “Taxes levied are used for these reasons other than many classified areas of investment,” it said.
The outfit questioned why the anti-tax committee and some people chose to question the NSCN (I-M) for tax collection rather than questioning those militant outfits, which collect money from the people in the name of Naga nationalism and do nothing in return.
It said some militants were talking of Naga nationalism within Nagaland, but it represented all Naga-inhabited areas. The NSCN (I-M) said taxation is imposed to show loyalty to the outfit’s authority and legitimacy, to sustain its movement. It also helps to mobilise support across the world and to protect, supply basic requirements for thousands of standing NSCN (I-M) members and to protect the rights of Naga people and their territory. The outfit’s annual budget has increased manifold as a result of heavy recruitment and procurement of arms from foreign countries, to over Rs 100 crore per year.
According to intelligence sources, there are nearly 25,000 NSCN members. The salaries of the members range between Rs 2,000 and Rs 15,000, according to their rank. ( The Telegraph, India)