The Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Friday termed the decision of the Nagaland government to celebrate the annual Hornbill Festival in December this year “suicidal mission”.

Lambasting the decision, the party urged the government to change its decision for the safety of its people.

The press bureau of NPF in a release said the People’s Democratic Alliance government has decided to observe the festival despite knowing the fact that the Covid-19 positive cases are increasing every single day in the state.

“Even if the celebration maybe in virtual form, a festival is a festival, and in any festival celebration, without people’s participation there cannot be any celebration,” the party said.

According to it, if the government is in the process to celebrate the festival without participation of the public, there is no need to hold any celebration.

The NPF sought to know how far it is safe to celebrate the Hornbill Festival in whatever way the government is contemplating. Can the government assure the Naga public that nothing will happen to any participants because of the virus, it asked.

The party said the state government must be well aware that the positivity rate in Nagaland has surpassed the national rate, which clearly indicated that the state has higher transmission rate than the national rate.

“We all consider the Hornbill Festival as a perfect opportunity to improve our tourism sector and a time to showcase our traditional heritage to the outside world,” it said. However, the party cautioned that the influx of international and domestic tourists from different places into the state during the festival will prove catastrophic because of the current pandemic situation.

It added that with the increase in community transmission of the virus, the celebration of the festival in the state will prove to be a complete disaster.

The party asked when the mega international sports event Olympic can be cancelled due to the pandemic, what is compelling the state government to hold the Hornbill Festival at the cost of the people’s life.

The NPF reminded the PDA government that it is not a time for merry making and momentary pleasure but to ensure the safety of its people.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com