Nagaland calls off Hornbill Festival in protest against civilian killings by security forces

Nagaland calls off Hornbill Festival?

 The cabinet of Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday decided to call off the ongoing Hornbill Festival. As the protest against the killing of 14 civilians by security forces continues. The 10-day Hornbill Festival, the state’s largest tourism extravaganza held at Naga Heritage Village in Kisama near the state capital, was scheduled to end on December 10.

The state government had canceled the day’s event at the venue on Monday. Several tribes from eastern Nagaland and other parts of the state had suspended all activities at their respective Morungs over the killing in Mon district.

The Nagaland government on Tuesday announced that it was cutting short the 22nd Hornbill Festival by three days. The government wanted to show solidarity with the Konyak community that lost 14 young men, killed in Mon district in two incidents of firing on December 4 and 5 by the security forces. Forces mistook them as militants.

State’s Call:

The state government had also canceled the events at the festival on Monday. To pay homage to the dead as they were laid to rest. However, with pressure mounting from civil organizations to call off the festivities. The tribal bodies withdrew from the event to express their solidarity with the Konyaks. The government decided to cancel the remaining three days of the festival.

The Hornbill Festival, an annual ten-day cultural and tourism extravaganza in which different Naga tribes showcase their rich traditions, began on December 1. Following the killings, six Eastern Nagaland tribes including Konyak, Khiamniungan, Phom, Sangtam, Yimkhiung, and Chang withdrew from the festival.

Nagaland groups and political parties are now seeking a repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).  They describe as the root of the problem as it shields the armed forces from prosecution. While carrying out anti-insurgency operations in the northeast.

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