File Image of a cultural presentation during the hornbill festival

Kohima: Opposing the celebration of the annual Hornbill Festival, Nagaland opposition party, Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Friday said that with spike in COVID-19 positivity rate, observing the festival will be a “suicidal mission”.

This year’s Hornbill Festival is expected to go virtual. The opposition party said that there is no need to hold any celebration. The party is “shocked and lambasted” by the government’s decision to celebrate the annual Hornbill Festival, stated the party.

NPF in its statement said that it is surprised to “see the heartless attitude of the PDA Government in conducting the annual festival, despite knowing the fact that the Naga society is reeling under threat due to the Corona Virus pandemic”.

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The party also said that despite enforcing SOPs like wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distance which are preventive measures, number of positive cases in the state soared to over 8000 with 22 fatalities. How far can we contain the virus from community transmission by enforcing the SOP during the celebration of Hornbill, it questioned.

It also pointed out the increasing positivity rate in the state, which surpassed the national rate. While the Hornbill festival is a perfect opportunity to improve the tourism sector and a time to showcase the traditional heritage to the outside world, NPF said that the influx of international and domestic tourist from different places into the state would prove catastrophic.

With the increase in COVID-19 transmission, it said that the festive celebration will result to be a “complete disaster”. When international sports mega-event ‘Olympic’ to be hosted by one of the world’s most advance country–Japan, can be cancelled due to the pandemic, what is contemplating the PDA Government to hold the Hornbill festival at the cost of the public life, it added.

It reminded the ruling government that it is not a time for “merrymaking and momentary pleasure” but to ensure the safety of the people and also change the decision for the protection of its people.

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