The Nagaland government on Monday cancelled the events scheduled for the iconic Hornbill festival in solidarity with the civilians killed by the armed forces in Mon district over the weekend. A botched anti-insurgency operation in Mon left 14 civilians dead, intensifying protests and the call for repealing the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act across the northeast region.
The Naga Heritage Village at Kisama, the event's main venue, is deserted today except for police personnel. Six tribes under Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) and a few other tribes have decided to refrain from participating in the cultural programmes. The Konyak Union, the apex body of the Konyak tribe, to which the murdered civilians belonged, have also withdrawn from the festival. Almost all tribal bodies have decided not to participate in the festival until further notice.
The hornbill festival is a ten-day-long annual event wherein different tribes of the state showcase their traditions. It kick-started on December 1.
The festival is attended by thousands of tourists across the country and abroad, as well as diplomats from several nations, including the US, Germany and Australia. The festival is held across four districts. The main events are the Hornbill Music Festival, Nagaland Literature Festival and Nagaland Film Festival, mountain biking, and the Hornbill Bamboo Festival.