TODAY -

'Nagalim' tax note to Assam estates
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 21, 2013: Tea gardens and some villages in Assam, bordering Nagaland, have received demand notes from an underground outfit asking them to pay taxes to the "government of people's republic of Nagalim".

The extortion notice, signed by I Yanger Pongen, "under secretary, secy I/C MCA" (in-charge of ministry of chaplee affairs), Mkg (Mokokchung) district reads: "As per the directive of the deputy kilonser, ministry of chaplee affairs, you are hereby informed to submit a sum of * towards the annual tax for the year on 2013-2014 on * to the undersigned without fail".

Last week, four tea workers had been kidnapped at Rangham under Seleng police outpost in Jorhat district, bordering Mokokchung district of Nagaland, as the small tea garden in which they were working had allegedly failed to pay the "tax".

A senior planter said while one or two of the gardens had dared to report the matter, others were scared and most likely unofficially paying at least a part of the amount demanded to the outfits.

"This is a new phenomenon.

Earlier, many of us have received extortion notes from one outfit or the other, but we have never had to pay taxes to an outfit which purports to represent the government of people's republic of Nagalim." He said this was the first time that people living in the border villages had also been asked to pay taxes.

"Usually miscreants who came down from the Naga hills would take a chicken, a goat or a pig but this is the first time that they (villagers) have received such a demand note." He said police were maintaining a vigil in the areas where the demand notes had been issued but fear lurked among the people residing in these areas, especially after the kidnapping of four tea workers last week by goons from Nagaland.

A senior tea official said it was shameful that the government was not taking up the matter with Nagaland at the highest level as no tea garden that fell well within the border of Assam would be willing to pay taxes to "Nagalim".

He said this was a ploy to acquire Assam's land.

"This has to stop once and for all, otherwise everyone will be doling out money to Nagaland and after a few years Nagaland will claim that the land belongs to them as the gardens had been paying them taxes for long," he added.

The police said they were maintaining a round-the-clock vigil with orders to shoot if there was any attempt at abduction.


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