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Cherry Blossom finale after church service: Prestone


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Oct 26: The state government gave in to mounting pressure and ordered the Cherry Blossom Festival organisers to start the last day of the festival on Sunday, after the church service, at approximately 3 pm.
“We have instructed the organisers that for this time since it ends on a Sunday let the function start after 3 pm at the end of the church service,” Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Thursday.
Speaking about the discontent that some have voiced over the event ending on a Sunday, he stated, “If you talk about Sunday, Saturday, or Friday, sometimes it happens. Sometimes the last day ends on a Sunday or the first day begins on a Sunday.”
“I want to reassure everyone that this programme is only three days long, and it just so happens to end on a Sunday,” he remarked.
“I would appeal to everyone to be cool and calm, and we will see from next year onwards to calculate the date accordingly so that everyone are happy and benefitted out of this festival,” he added.
When asked if he believed that the opposition had a political agenda, he responded, “I would like to say that this is a sentimental issue. Meghalaya is referred to as a ‘Christian state’, and some church leaders or NGOs share that viewpoint. The government appreciates that sentiment.”  The plan to end the event on a Sunday has been opposed by a delegation operating under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) banner.
The JAC is made up of the following pressure groups — Saindur Tipkur Tipkha Ehrngiew Hynniewtrep, Meghalaya People’s Social Organisation, United Hynniewtrep Movement, Meghalaya People United Front, and Ri-Bhoi Youth Organisation.
Numerous NGOs and political parties have previously registered their protest.
It may be recalled that the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum’s decision to end the Shillong Autumn Festival on a Sunday was met with fierce protest in 2011. Still, the celebration went forward as planned.


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