DIMAPUR: Responding to the MIP of the NSCN (I-M) , Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) Monday said it was unfortunate that the NSCN (I-M) has termed its action as “treachery”; having a “hidden agenda” ; “jeopardizing the ongoing political dialogue” and like “fools dancing to the tune of (outside) powers” .
ACAUT said the descriptions belittled “ the voice of the people” and therefore wanted to clarify that its “actions thus far, is nothing short of patriotism”.
ACAUT maintained it was engaged in “nation building” as much as any Naga UG groups, through its agitations against unabated taxation.
It said that ACAUT members not only “believe in political sovereignty, we also believe in economic
sovereignty of Naga people.”
It explained that political sovereignty was about Naga people’s right “ to self determination” and economic sovereignty, “in the Naga context” would mean “the very survival of Naga race”.
ACAUT said while Nagas pray for an early solution to the “Indo-Naga political issue”; yet the sacrifices of the past 60 years would “mean nothing if our people fail to survive into the next generation.”
It cited the issue of Naga female sex workers to say that the “truism of economic independence” should “make us squirm over our patriotic seats” such as “hundreds if not thousands of educated Naga girls engaged in flesh trade in Dimapur and in neighbouring Lahorijan”.
It said these girls are “abused and passed around like commodities by truckers, police, hotel owners, businessmen and moneyed people who from all over the north east”.
As much as “our Naga pride is hurt”, ACAUT said there was no denying that “our girls are into it because of economic reasons” and went on to add that with AIDS, “these girls will soon become a financial burden on our society”.
Comparing Nagaland and Thailand , ACAUT predicted that , Nagaland was soon going to become the “Bangkok of the East” where “the whole rural Thai population depends on women’s remuneration from Bangkok and other cities”.
As much as we believe in political sovereignty, we also believe in economic sovereignty of Nagas – ACAUT –
Asking if such a “value system” be allowed to flourish; ACAUT maintained that Nagaland instead needs trade and industries to generate jobs and employment for “our girls and boys”.
It described government salaries as acting like a “drag on the economy” and that so long Nagas depend on government jobs there would be no money for development.
ACAUT said no development meant no investment and no investment meant no jobs. It went on to say that lead to a vicious cycle of prostitution, drugs, theft, extortion, kidnapping and joining UG groups for “job opportunities”.
ACAUT reiterated that it was under no “illusion” that it could bring “revolutionary changes” but believed time has come to change “the prevailing status quo”. It said change meant “no random multiple taxations” which destroy not only Naga businesses but Dimapur.
“This is not some preposterous theory but an outcome which we have to bear if some misplaced sense of patriotism roughshod over saner voices” it stated.
ACAUT affirmed it was neither an arm of the home ministry or the government of India nor a “poodle of the IB” as subtly hinted to discredit it. ACAUT maintained it is a conglomeration of Naga civil society and business organisations formed to give “voice to un-represented opinions”.
ACAUT said its members were “not fools acting at the behest of vested organisations” but represent the collective conscience of the people.
The NSCN (I-M) accusation that ACAUT was formed to jeopardise the political talks was “far fetched” it said. While describing NSCN (I-M) as an organisation recognized internationally and acknowledged by the government of India, ACAUT said Nagas will respect it more if language used for rag-tag organisations was discarded.
Meanwhile, ACAUT has taken full responsibility of the July 26 statement regarding “demand slips” of NSCN (K) and GPRN/NSCN.
ACAUT reiterated that it still stood by its contention that demand slips were “business-killing in nature.”
It also pointed out that the demand slip of NSCN (K) was issued three months back. If any cadre/s of any factions has any issue arising out of the statements, ACAUT said the matter should be settled with it.
Former CFMG/CFSB chairman reacts
Former Cease-fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) and Cease-fire Supervisory Board (CFSB) chairman Maj. Gen. (retd) N. George has reacted to the news of NSCN (I-M) issuing warning to ACAUT.
In a statement mailed to the media, N. George while referring to the news said it was the “occasion” for Naga society to make its stance known.
He said it was his belief that ACAUT had spoken out on behalf of the people and the issue that needed to be resolved now was “who represents the people.”
“The bane of Naga society has been its inability to speak out, quite naturally due to the fear of the gun.
Today, a lead has been taken. People only need to lend their support,” said the former CFMG/CFSB) chairman. N. George said “the hypocrisy” of the “national cause” was well known adding that there could be no better manifestation of this recognition than the large number of Nagas, particularly the youth, who have left with no option but to leave the state to seek greener pastures. He said the the present situation places Nagaland at the crossroads.
“A large section of society would naturally be in a dilemma. Taking sides is a difficult proposition.
Taking up for absolute refusal to tolerate violence against any member of civil society should not. ACAUT has made its position clear.”
Source: Nagaland Post