Sep 09, 2013

Nagalim: Remembrance Of Matikhrü Incident

Members of the Pochury Students’ Union commemorated the atrocities of September 6th, 1960 and have called for all members of the Naga society to remember those who gave up their lives for the freedom.

Below is an article published by The Morung Express.

On September 6, 1960, Matikhrü, a village along the borders of Nagaland and Manipur in Phek district of Nagaland witnessed the beheading of its men by combined forces of the Indian Army’s Sikh and Gorkha Regiments. The Indian army said it was reacting to the villagers supplying ration to Naga army men engaged in the Thuda war.

The Pochury Students’ Union (PSU) recognizes September 6 every year as a ‘Black day’ in the memory of those who gave up their lives for the freedom struggle.

Minister for Forest and Border Affairs, Y Patton remarked that this day should be remembered by all Nagas and not just the Pochury tribe, as it was a major event in the history of Naga Nationalism. Speaking at the 3rd edition of the PSU Black Day Memorial Cup in Phor village on September 7, Patton expressed anguish over the tragedies of the 1950s and early 60s, where Nagas suffered untold hardships at the hands of the Indian army.

Terming the memories as “harsh and horrifying,” he opined that despite all hardships, “our birthright and our stand of who we are as Nagas has never been curtailed.” He expressed sadness at the many instances of Nagas killing each other in the name of nationalism at a time when concerted efforts are being made to foster peace and unity.

It is everyone’s responsibility, he said, to bring peace in Naga society, adding that failing to do so would mean that the struggles of the past are in vain. Calling upon the PSU in particular and the Pochury tribe in general, he said “Let us tell our Naga family members, particularly the underground brothers and sisters, that we have had enough bitter experiences in the past and that no more blood be shed in our land.”

To recount history, the battle of Thuda at Phor Village started on August 24 when the Naga Army surrounded the Thuda outpost of the 14 Assam Rifles. On August 26, an Indian Air Force Dakota airplane bearing no. DC-3, HJ233 was shot down by the Naga Army and its crew members led by Capt. Anand Singha and 8 others members were captured at Zathsü. Outraged by the act, the Government of India unleashed a war that led to the people of Phor fleeing to the jungles.

At the opening ceremony of the 3rd Black day Memorial Cup 2013, R. Yeteli Thurr, Chairman of the Thuda Committee explained how when the villagers could no longer survive in the jungles, their village and food burnt, they convened a general meeting to set up a “peace mission,” consisted of six members. But the members were caught by the Indian army before they could bring the word of peace and tortured. When no news arrived from them, Türachu, the village chief and Pastor Yutsüchu, were sent but they were shot dead too. Phor Village observes a Martyrs’ day on September 4 to commemorate the death of their leaders.

But on September 6, a worse incident was in store in the form of the Matikhrü incident. It was only when Gavin Young, a British journalist, visited the region in 1960s that news of these atrocities were transmitted to the world with a copy sent to the UNO, which recognized the Naga struggle as a genuine one.

The visit to commemorate 53 years of the Matikhrü incident was also attended by Yitachu, Parliamentary Secretary for Veterinary & AH. He stressed on the prominent role of the Pochury Nagas during the early years of the NNC and encouraged them to be proud of their history. He appealed for other Naga tribes not to forget the sacrifices of the Pochury people towards the Naga cause. Calling for peace among the National Groups, Yitachu said, “Our forefathers did not fight so that we could fight amongst each other, rather so that we could stand together and fight for the cause.”

Meanwhile, Y Patton assured to do his best to approach the State Government to open a Forest beat post at Phor village which has about 20,000 acres of forest area. MLA and Chairman, MARCOFED, Mmhonlumo Kikon also attended the event.