Nagaland Firing: State Cabinet Calls Off Hornbill Festival; to Urge Centre to Repeal AFSPA

Nagaland, Dec 7: Nagaland cabinet has decided to make a strong recommendation to the Centre government to repeal the AFSPA and also suspended the remaining days of the Hornbill Festival to express solidarity with the Konyaks and to hold a spirit of oneness with them as they mourn.

6 civilians were killed by security forces in an ‘ambush‘ while they were commuting in a truck in Oting in Mon district.

The 22nd edition of the 10- Day annual event started on December 1 amid much enthusiasm. On the very first day, it recorded a footfall of over 12,000 people. In fact, the Hornbill Festival is taking place after one year’s gap owing to pandemic-related restrictions.

While inaugurating the festival this year, Governor of Nagaland Jagdish Mukhi had said, “The day is not far when the much-awaited peace agreement with Naga rebel groups will be signed. Everyone should make up their minds to create a conducive atmosphere for welcoming the new dawn of peaceful and progressive Nagaland.”

The first edition of the festival is named after the Indian hornbill, the large and colourful forest bird which is displayed in the folklore of most of the state’s tribes in the year 2000. Over the years, the Hornbill Festival has contributed significantly to enhancing the state’s tourism brand.

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The state’s Tourism Department stated that 12,420 visitors on the first day of the 22nd edition, including 9,527 locals, and 2,882 domestic travellers. Over 1.12 lakh tourists came to Nagaland during the Hornbill festival in 2016, while 2.82 lakh visited in 2019.

Organised by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, the Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, about 12 km from Kohima. To the visitors, it offers a closer understanding of the people and culture of Nagaland, and an opportunity to experience its food, songs, dances and customs.

Festival highlights include the sale of arts and crafts, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows, besides songs and dances, fashion shows, indigenous games, and musical concerts. One of the major highlights of this festival is the Hornbill International Rock Festival, held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where local and international rock bands are roped in to perform. But due to the Nagaland Firing incidident, State Cabinet wants to call off Hornbill Festival.