For a peaceful Hornbill

In a few hours we will venture into the last month of the year. Whether by coincidence, we save the best for the last. From December 1 onwards until Christmas and New Year it is going to be one hectic time of events and celebration. Statehood day followed by a weeklong Hornbill Festival will draw the attention of one and all concerned. There is also going to be a lot of movement of people and gathering not just at Kisama but in the different venues. While for many of us it will be a time of enjoyment and fun, those entrusted to look after the law and order situation will have to be on high alert so that nothing unpleasant takes place. It is the responsibility of the State government as well as the different tribal hohos and civil society to ensure that the hornbill festival is successfully concluded in a peaceful manner. Everyone should be on their best discipline. And if all of us can conduct ourselves as good citizens, knowing not only our rights but also our duties and responsibilities, the task to achieve peace and success will be much easier.  

One of the concerns in earlier years, though not highlighted in the local media, is the regular incidents of drunken driving, accidents and other anti-social activities taking place in the name of enjoying the hornbill festival. Hopefully the organizers would have taken into consideration the concerns of previous years so that things can improve. Also police personnel in plain clothes should be deployed in greater numbers. A word of caution though that community policing ought to be discouraged or if their assistance is required, this should be done with clearly laid down dos and don’ts. No one should be allowed to take law into their own hands. Let there be discipline, civility and respect for law. If everyone can follow these mantras then we will be ensuring not just a peaceful hornbill but also setting a good example in front of our guests. Our sincere advice especially to our youths is this: have good clean fun. Let us not injure or harm ourselves or others in any way. Stay safe and protect yourselves from HIV/AIDS, drug use and other unhealthy vices.   

It goes without saying that the Naga armed groups especially those operating in and around the State Capital Kohima should respect public sentiment and desist from indulging in violent activities against each other.  In fact this column actually suggests that the Naga political groups still fighting against each other should declare unilateral ceasefire from December 1 onwards so that the Naga public can have peace and tranquility as we welcome the birth of the Prince of Peace into our midst. Perhaps because of the sheer magnitude of visitors coming from all over the world, the Hornbill Festival is the best time to showcase the Naga people and the opportunities that can be explored to encourage investment and develop trade and commerce. Also the potential in offer for Nagaland as a result of India’s Look-East Policy, now slowly gaining some ground, we cannot afford to let our guard down. Obviously all this will be possible only if we are able to convince our guests and potential partners that there is peace, political order and respect for the rule of law.