Kohima: As people from Eastern Nagaland maintain their stand to abstain from participating at the Hornbill festival, the state government on Tuesday revealed its backup plans to host the festival. Interestingly, its backup plan includes tribal performers from the region.

During a press conference held at the Directorate of tourism, Advisor to Tourism, Art & Culture Khehovi Yepthomi said the state government is still hopeful that the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization (ENPO) would allow its cultural troupes and participants at the much awaited Hornbill festival.

However, if these cultural troupes do not make it to the festival, Yepthomi said that as part of its Plan B, the state government has notified tribal clubs and groups from Kohima and Dimapur to participate in the cultural events. These clubs, he said, would comprise people belonging to tribes from Eastern Nagaland.

He also informed that the state government would maintain the morungs belonging to Eastern Naga tribes and make them available for cultural clubs to access during breaks.

When asked if the government has any further plans in case its Plan-A and B fail, Yepthomi said there was also a ‘Plan C’ in place but refused to disclose any details of the same. The legislator still assured that its Plan B would not fail as all arrangements have been made.  

Nagaland is expecting a greater footfall of tourists this year in comparison to the other years. In 2021, 56,356 visitors, including 54 foreign and 14,538 domestic tourists were recorded to have visited the festival between December 1-4. The celebrations were called off last year following the killings in Mon district.  

Meanwhile, the same evening, Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF) and Eastern Nagaland Women Organization (ENWO) issued a joint statement directing its 7 Federating units to strongly implement the resolution adopted in the ENPO-CEC meeting on October 14 held at Tuensang concerning abstention from participation in Hornbill Festival, followed by subsequent re-affirmation on November 16 at Mon.

The federating units of ENSF and ENWO include Chang Wedoshi Setshang (CWS), Khiamniungan Students’ Union (KSU), Konyak Students Union (KSU), Phom Students’ Conference (PSC), Tikhir Students’ Union (TSU), United Sangtam Students’ Conference (USCC), Yimkhiung Akherü Arihako (YAA), Changsao Thangjam Setshang (CTS), Phomla Hoichem (PH), Tikhir Women Association (TWA), Akehta Sangtamlarü Thsingmujang (AST), Yimkhiung Women Organization(YWO), Khiamniungan Menyiu Hoikam (KMH) and Konyak Nyupuh Sheko Khong(KNSK).

The two bodies said that there is no objection to the participation of village guard (VG) in the Statehood Day Celebration on December 1 at Secretariat Kohima. “In the light of the government notification, the VG personnel may present on the Statehood day being a government employee and thus in the capacity on official duty, they can participate only in their official uniform and not in traditional cultural attire as demanded. The VG personnel are directed not to display any Cultural items of the 7 tribes of Eastern Nagas, presentation of cultural songs and dances and use of Morungs allotted to the seven tribes of Eastern Nagas at Kisama as it is totally prohibited as per ENPO-CEC resolution,” it said.

Furthermore, it warned that no individual, group or organization and government agencies should display any cultural items belonging to seven tribes of Eastern Nagaland during the entire Hornbill Festival under any circumstances.

“In the event of failure, the two organizations will have no option but to initiate stringent action against the defaulters,” it added.

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