Tura, Sep 28: Prominent residents of Garo Hills, along with residents recently held a meeting at Asanang over the threat by the chairman of the Hundred Drums Wangala Festival Organizing Committee (HDWFOC), LR Ch Momin, over the festival being moved to nearby Chibragre over disagreements on holding the Wangala this year.
While the chairman of the committee is in favour of a limited festival involving just customary rituals, other members of the same committee have sought a complete cancellation owing to the COVID-19 situation.
The meeting held on September 25 at Asanang condemned the social media posts of the chairman, LR Ch Momin of shifting the venue of the annual Wangala festival while also allegedly mocking the Nokma of Asanang (Selbalgre), Rosalline Ch Marak and the people of the village.
Residents of Asanang have been objecting to the holding of Wangala this year due to the spread of the pandemic. However a section of the HDWFOC has been adamant in holding at least some rituals. This however has been objected to by the villagers as the essence of the festival was the Wangala Dance that is performed in thanksgiving. The objective of the festival was not
“Asanang has been holding the festival for 44 years now without any objections or controversies. His statement has shocked the people as he said that the people of Asanang don’t even know who the Nokma is. Asanang has been hosting HDWF right from its inception where the then Nokma of Asanang Late Emithson Marak offered this playground,” said Emphul Marak, one of the meeting members.
Those present felt that instead of appreciating the people of Asanang, the chairman insulted them.
The meeting resolved to seek an apology from the working chairman, LR Ch Momin over his posts with a copy of the resolutions to be forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills District, Ram Singh. They added that if an apology was not submitted within 10 days, no meetings would be allowed by the HDWFC led by Momin.
They also demanded the resignation of Momin for the abject statements made.
Further the meeting objected to the working chairman’s decision of holding the festival at another venue in Chibagre adding that to do so would require an amendment to the HDWFOC constitution.
“We shall not allow the shifting of the festival from Asanang until the constitution is amended. We appeal to the committee to instead donate this year’s government fund to the CMRF for the sake of the people during this pandemic,” they added.
Noted people who were present during the meeting were Dr Milton Sangma, former MDC, PK Sangma, former HDWFOC president, Leander K Marak along with the Nokmas of Jendragre, Ganolgre and Digranggre.
The people during their meeting have reiterated that they would not allow the hosting of the Wangala festival this year due to the situation in an effort to protect the people.