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Living Eyewitness – Pochury Black Day, and Massacre of Matikhrü Village

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By EMN Updated: Sep 05, 2017 11:08 pm
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Rev. Zhiwhuotho Katiry | EMN

The aftermath of the attacked on 14th Assam Rifles post at Thuda (Phor) Village and the shooting down of the Dakota by the Naga undergrounds had terrible repercussions on the innocent civil populace. The Indian Armed forces, like a pachyderm, went on a rampage arresting, torturing, killing innocent people and burning down houses and granaries by unleashing their anger on the innocent villagers.

On the fateful day of 6th September 1960 at around 10:00AM, the 16th Punjab Regiment of Indian army came to my Village (Matikhrü), and surrounded the village in three rings to prevent the villagers from the any possible escape. The soldiers in their raging voice called all the villagers out from their house and start beating and hitting them with their boots and gun butts mercilessly demanding the innocent villagers to tell where the undergrounds were hiding and where their guns were kept. One of the villagers who knew a little smattering Hindi pleaded with the army of their ignorance but the more they pleaded for mercy the more they were beaten. One of them who raise folded hands to plea for mercy had his hands smashed with a wooden block. Some of their wives and children were weeping loudly on seeing what was happening around, while other stood speechless due to fear. The whole day the men folks were tortured in full view of their children. The torture went on until their ribs and legs were broken. When one of the victims, Pongoi , who was lying on the ground with broken ribs was being brought water by his wife, it was knocked away by one of the soldiers. I was seven (7) years old boy, but still I vividly remember what my father’s said to me, I had bend-down to hear my father’s last word, because he could not even sit-up, his whole body and face carried congealed blood, his nose and lips all swollen and bloated., I had earlier seen that my father’s face being lacerated by a spear handle, my father held me with the last strands of his strength and told me, “son the devils are not going to spare our lives. Don’t quarrel among yourselves; love your mummy as she is going to take care of you.”

By evening all women and children were threatened to leave the village quickly. Mr. Resipa,who was lying unconscious was awaked by one of the soldiers and told him to flee to the jungle quickly, he would recall even today how at least one among many soldiers had human emotion of love. Not before long we fled to the jungle we could hear the sound of gun shots. We could also hear the burning of our houses and granaries. All the men folk were then dragged inside Thah’s house of village chief, and were made to sit on the floor in row like lambs ready to be slaughtered. One of the soldiers brought a sharp bladed Dao. When Thah, saw it he quickly sensed that they were going to be butchered to death, and thus shouted to his friends, “ It is a man’s pride to sacrifice for his birth right, and I shall never surrender nor compromise. I am ready to sacrifice my life for the future generation of the Nagas.” Before he could utter more words, Pogholo, who was sitting on the first line was chopped-off his head in front of others leaving the torso rolling on the ground; unable to be bear the horrid sight, Mr. Kekhwezü, with all his might pushed the rear door and escaped from the jaw of death. The soldiers were guarding in the rear side of the house sprayed bullets at him but miraculously none hit him except one which hit blew away on of his fingers. Although, fear dulled sense he could hear his friends screaming as the Indian army beheaded them. It is a commonly belief among the Nagas that in any such situation of danger one man always escapes to carry the tale to the living ones. Although, he (Kekhwezü) he escaped miraculously through God’s providence, he died after a few days due to emotional shock following a stressful event.

A total of nine (9) innocent villagers on that fateful day. 1.Thah.village chief. GF/O.Rev.Zhiwhuotho.2. Mezitso. F/o. Rev, Zhiwhuotho.3.Pongoi. F/O. Lt.Kekhwezülo. 4. Pogholo.F/O,Lt. Rosiepa. 5.Eyechü. F/O ,Resipa. 6. Kezükhwelo.s/o,Lt. Eyechü. 7.Zasituo.Psator s/o. Lt. Lashupa. 8. Thitu. H/O Mrs.Rhütarüh. and 9.Kekhwezü.F/O,Mrs Kezüngulolu.

The pitiless Indian army Jawans did not even spare the dead bodies to let the loves ones perform the last rites, instead all the dead bodies were dumped inside the house and set on fire. All the houses and granaries were reduced. The women and children who had fled to the jungle to evade the dreaded horror came back the next morning only to find heaps of the ashes. One of the victim, Thitu was found by his wife Mrs.Rhütarüh, one of the master courage among the women who came back and witness semi-conscious state as though he was waiting to utter a few words to his wife. Pastor, Zasituo who was lying other side with fatal wounds breath his last when his mother put on her lap.

Then the women scurried away after burying the dead bodies fearing that the soldiers might come back and torture them. After a few days the Indian soldiers came back and exhumed the dead bodies and burned to ashes.

The Exodus and Suffering in the Wilderness Set into the Bereaved Mothers’ and Children
After abandoning the village on 6th September 1960,we could not enter into any of neighbouring villages due to fear of similar atrocities by Indian army, like fugitive we were wandering and hiding in the jungles for the next one month. I can still vividly recollect how we went through terrible nightmares of sufferings and starvation.

Our exodus began from Potsüda (our terrace field) to Soraphung and thence to Losami village for about one and half months. However, in the month of November 1960, we came back from Losami to our native village for harvest, from there our underground brothers came and escorted us to Sathi camp in Burma side, where we sojourned with the Naga underground brothers for one and half years.

Gavin Young of London Observer came and visit us in the last part of 1961,at Sathi camp. In his book “INDO NAGA WAR” at page 29,30 he had mentioned that during his visit, when he met us we were only a pathetic thirty people survived said one of the surviving woman and on a photograph one can see some males, females and children standing near a medical officer in torn and tattered clothes.”

As we could not longer remain in jungle we dispersed to different villages. In January 1963, after New year celebration we came back to our old and abandoned village for re-established ourselves, although, normal lives could not be restored for many years.

We are grateful to Shri. Yitachu, under whose President-ship in 1993,of Pochury Students’ Union initiated in observing 6th September as “Pochury Black Day” and it has been observed every year since then.

We all must speak out the names of those who had sacrificed their precious lives for the cause of our Naga birth right as the Bible says in Proverb 31:8, “Open your mouth for the speechless in the cause of all who appointed to die.”

One generation shall pass away but the memory of Matikhrü massacre shall not pass away and will ever live in our memory.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 05, 2017 11:08:43 pm