The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: murder at Mokokchung
medium: diaries
location: Mokokchung
date: 28.10.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 28 October. Mokokchung.
text: Today all Mokokchung is agog as early this morning an Assamese sepoy in the Assam Rifles outpost shot a girl and then attempted to commit suicide.
text: It seems that the sepoy was in love with the eighteen year old daughter of the Assamese manager of the V-stores. Socially he was far inferior to the girl who was still at the Middle English school. Mokokchung gossip holds that the sepoy had continually worried the girl's father to let him marry her. As this section of the Assam Rifles is about to be transferred to Kohima in a week's time, things had evidently come to a head and the parents had finally refused. The girl who had been very pleasant to him at first, was now cool and aloof. This morning the sepoy came off duty at 6 am and as it had been a wet night, took his rifle down to the cook-house to clean it. The murder must have been premeditated for he had procured two bullets (all the Assam Rifles' bullets are kept under lock and key and none are missing.) He had also arranged to return to the fort with his rifle just as the girl was returning home from school for the morning break at 9 o'clock. (119) She was walking along a footpath with a school friend. The sepoy let the friend pass, then he barred the way, put his rifle to the girl's breast and shot her through the lungs. He then tried to shoot himself but the bullet passed through his throat without touching the windpipe or an artery. Although he is still unconscious, the doctor is sure he will recover quickly.
text: Bill has been busy all day recording the evidence and investigating the case. The girl's father denies ever having seen the sepoy, but all Mokokchung knows that the boy often visited the girl's house. The school friend is an eye-witness and there seems little doubt that when the trial is over the sepoy will be hanged.