Nagaland Govt. cancels Hornbill Festival; Demands repeal of AFSPA
KOHIMA, DECEMBER 7: Three days after the reported ‘brutal killing’ of at least 14 innocent civilians by security forces in Mon district, the Nagaland Government on Tuesday announced cancellation of the iconic Hornbill Festival and also asked the Centre for immediate repeal of the AFSPA.
Nagaland Ministers Neiba Kronu and Temjen Imna Along announced the Government decision during a press conference after the emergency State Cabinet meeting held in the State Civil Secretariat here.
During the emergency meeting, the Cabinet discussed the firing incidents in Oting-Tiru area, under Mon district, on December 4 and the subsequent incidents at Mon Town on December 5, said Kronu.
The Cabinet was briefed on the action taken by the Government including setting up of Special Investigation (SIT) headed by an IGP with 4 other members and also the grant of ex-gratia to the next of kin of each of the deceased by the State and Central Governments, he said.
After thorough deliberations, the Cabinet has directed the SIT to complete the investigation within the time limit of one month.
On the casualties of the Mon incident, Kronu said altogether 14 civilians have been killed while two severely injured are undergoing treatment in Dibrugarh, Assam and six are being treated in Dimapur while 22 others have been released from the hospitals.
The Cabinet also decided to write to the Government of India for the immediate repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 from the State.
On the Hornbill Festival, Kronu said the Cabinet decided that “all activities of the ongoing festival 2021 should be ceased in view of the mourning announced for the deceased in the firing incidents in Mon district, and the demand of various Civil Societies not to hold the activities”.
Clarifying that only the stalls selling parishable items such as food, fruits and edibles would be allowed to open, Kronu said the Cabinet has appealed all elected representatives, Government employees and others to help the entrepreneurs who had set up stalls for the Hornbill Festival by actively purchasing the items being sold by them.
Subsequently, under the directive of the Cabinet, the Tourism Department, the main organizers of the 10-day long festival, held a simple and solemn closing ceremony for the Hornbill Festival at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, and declared the festivities closed.
(Page News Service)