The people of Mizoram on Wednesday joined the world in celebrating New Year’s day with firecrackers and lights, defying the state government order, which banned bursting of firecrackers during the festive season.
In December, the state government had issued an order banning import, sale and burning of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials to ensure tranquillity and enable people to celebrate Christmas and New Year in peaceful and pollution-free environment.
However, denizens of the state could not totally give up the age-old practice of welcoming a New Year with a crash-boom-bang celebration. The sound of firecrackers filled the air here as New Year set in.
“Bursting firecrackers and other fireworks is a way of bidding farewell to the year and welcoming and celebrating the new one, more or less a custom deeply rooted in Mizo society,” a local resident, John Renthlei, said.
He said the act was not a deliberate attempt to defy the government order. “I hope the government will understand the sentiments and moods of the people,” he said.
Sources said bursting of firecrackers, crackling rockets and display of lights have also been witnessed in other towns on Wednesday.
Aizawl district superintendent of police C. Lalruaia told The Telegraph that there were no untoward incidents during the celebration except a forest fire at Durtlang area caused by sky lanterns. He said at least five persons were arrested for selling firecrackers and other explosive materials on Wednesday night.
The police also said at least 23 people from Assam were arrested on Wednesday night for not possessing valid inner-line permits (ILP).
Deputy inspector-general of police (northern range) Lalbiakthanga Khiangte said the government has tightened security across the state. He said the police maintained round-the-clock vigil across the state. New Year was celebrated across the state on Wednesday with religious fervour as well. All churches held service and prayers to thank God for the New Year. Community feasts were also organised by some churches.
The New Year celebrations will continue till Thursday, during which most of the churches will organise community feasts besides church service and congregation.