‘Forcible’ Hornbill Fest upsets Tungjoy villagers

SENAPATI, 10th Dec: Villagers of Tungjoy in Senapati district have alleged forcible conduct of some events of the just concluded Hornbill Festival of Nagaland in Tungjoy area.
Expressing serious resentment over such provocative acts of the festival organisers, a statement issued by Tungjoy Village Authority Council informed that part of the festival was discovered organised at a site known as ‘Anyothro’ which falls under the jurisdiction of Tungjoy village.
Though the site where some events of the festival were held is located in between Khezhakeno village under Phek district in Nagaland and Tungjoy village of Senapati district in Manipur, the said location has been under control and ownership of Tungjoy.
Though it is appreciable that celebration of Hornbill Festival under the aegis of Tourism, Art & Culture Department of Nagaland is aimed at tapping tourism potential and promoting harmonious co-existence between people on either side of the border, it is deplorable that the festival trespassed into Tungjoy territory, the council said.
The Tungjoy village authority council extends wholehearted support to the festival as concept note of the event is to unite the different tribes of the North East India serve as a solace by harmonising the tribal groups which have been bogged down by inter-tribal conflict and violence in the past.
“Moreover, the festival propagates the ideals to uphold and sustain the distinct identity of dialects, customs and traditions of all ethnic tribes, to revive and protect the rich culture and also to display its spectacular traditions of Nagaland. The villagers are thrilled to discover that Hornbill Festival is celebrated every year by the people of the state (Nagaland) behind these beautiful ideals attracting hosts of local as well as foreign tourists.”
However, the village council of Tungjoy village under Senapati district disapproves forcible conduct of some components of this year’s festival such boating, hiking, angling, go cart, local stall, country ride, food, jungle ride and homestay at the tourist destination at “ANYOTHRO” which is within the territorial jurisdiction of Tungjoy villagers, the statement maintained.
It further mentioned that the aforementioned land was never a disputed site as Tungjoy villagers have been using the same to grow potato, cabbage and paddy crops at the eastern part of the area for the past many years.
The village authority council highlighted that the Deputy Commissioner of Phek district and the Deputy Commissioner of North District, Manipur had earlier signed an agreement not to create any disturbances. In another incident, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya inaugurated the Chida Resort on November 10 this year in-spite of strong objection raised by Tungjoy villagers as the resort is under the jurisdiction of Tungjoy. However, the recent development compels the villagers to question the rationale behind conduct of the Hornbill Festival in Tungjoy area as well as prod the conscience and legal authority of the government of Nagaland over the land, the statement said.The council further stated that it seriously questions wisdom and rationality of the Nagaland government behind organising the mega event of Hornbill Festival at the area without the prior knowledge and consent of the people of Tungjoy village. It also cautioned that such arbitrary conduct of the festival and bid to infringe upon Tungjoy territory not only dilutes the very purpose and essence of the festival but also has the potential to deepen the divide that already exist between Tungjoy and Khezhakeno villagers and consequently lead to unwanted situation and escalation of tension in the area.

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