Top government officials paid them, so did the police, businessmen, contractors and ordinary citizens. Even mighty groups like the Tatas couldn’t escape them. For the last three decades, militant groups in the Northeast have been brazenly running a parallel government, and collecting ‘taxes’. With militancy so well-entrenched, the people had virtually reconciled to living with the militants. Until now.
Last fortnight, Ao Senden, the apex body of the Ao tribe, which dominates Nagaland’s Mokokchung district, passed a resolution in which it declared that nobody would pay ‘tax’ to any militant outfit. At least, not until the militant leadership arrived at an understanding with the people.