Structures set up for the 2nd Emoinu Fish Festival at Hapta Kangjeibung ground in Imphal East were forced to be pulled down on Saturday as irate women took to the venue to protest against the festival, amid the escalating violence that has gripped Manipur for almost eight months.
Scheduled to take place on January 22, the state-level festival, organised by the Fisheries Department, faced an abrupt cancellation following the impassioned demonstration.
The Directorate of Fisheries issued an official order, attributing the decision to the precarious law and order situation prevailing in the region.
Expressing surprise and shock, the protestors had voiced their concerns over the government's decision to proceed with the fish festival amidst the backdrop of escalating violence. They decried the insensitivity of authorities, citing the daily toll of innocent lives at the hands of Kuki militants.
"The public is enduring sleepless nights, and the appetite for fish has waned. If the government insists on such festivities, let the MLAs indulge in fish meals within the confines of their quarters with their families," exclaimed a vocal female protestor.
She questioned the appropriateness of celebrating a fish festival while grieving families contend with the loss of loved ones to the ongoing conflict.
"In the wake of our sons lying in the morgue and the rising number of widows, is it the time for such celebrations?" she questioned, expressing deep dismay over the government's apparent detachment from the sombre reality faced by the people of Manipur.