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April 27, 2024

Nagaland Businesses Shut Down in Protest Against Extortion: Call for Government Action

In a bold move against extortion by underground groups, businesses across Nagaland have initiated an indefinite shutdown. Markets stand empty, and private offices are closed as the Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce & Industries (CNCCI) leads the protest.

The shutdown, which began in Dimapur, the state’s commercial capital, quickly spread to other districts following CNCCI’s call. The organization, representing the business community, expressed its intolerance towards the harassment and extortion they face. CNCCI demanded immediate government action to curb the rampant activities of these groups.

While essential services like banks, educational institutions, government offices, and hospitals remain operational, the rest of the business establishments are closed in protest. State Home Commissioner Vikeyie Kenya emphasized the need to address the situation, pointing out the adverse impact on law enforcement and the state government’s credibility.

Kenya directed the police to take stringent measures against those involved in extortion, especially targeting “underground cadres” under the National Security Act (NSA). He also instructed increased patrolling in market areas and the deployment of personnel to reassure the public. Additionally, a special cell is to be formed exclusively to address incidents of extortion.

However, the Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) expressed skepticism towards the government’s directives, citing past instances of insincerity. The DCCI emphasized that the shutdown would persist until the government takes concrete and satisfactory steps to address the issue.

The shutdown reflects the frustration of the business community, which has long been subjected to extortion and intimidation. Underground groups, many of which have signed ceasefire agreements with the government, continue to levy illegal taxes, particularly in Dimapur.

Such activities not only disrupt business operations but also pose a significant challenge to the state’s economic stability. The relentless extortion not only affects the businesses directly but also erodes public trust in the government’s ability to maintain law and order.

The call for action is urgent, with businesses demanding a swift and effective response from the authorities. The shutdown serves as a collective outcry against the impunity enjoyed by the extortionists and a plea for a safer and more conducive business environment.

The government’s commitment to addressing the issue will be crucial in restoring normalcy and fostering a climate of trust and security for businesses and residents alike. Failure to act decisively risks further alienating the business community and undermining the state’s economic prospects.

As the shutdown continues, the ball is in the government’s court to demonstrate its resolve in tackling extortion and ensuring the safety and prosperity of Nagaland’s business community.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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