The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on Nagas from 'Assam Administration Report'

caption: II. The Semas
caption: Naga Hills district
caption: Relations with Tributary States and Frontier Affairs
caption: Sema head-hunting
medium: reports
person: Nyeketho/ of SukomiSahepuKalhopuKukiapuSataka
ethnicgroup: SemaLhota
location: Emilomi Phinsing Lotesami (Latesami) Sukomi Kilimi Philimi Chelokisami Mapumi Keromechimi Ratami Sasatami (Satemi) Nangatang
date: 1889
date: 1890
text: The details of the above cases were as follows:-
text: Emilomi. This village, the largest of the Sema villages in the political control, was charged with having murdered three men of Phinsing in February 1888 and again three women of Latesami in March of the same year. In both cases the murders were committed by parties of Emilomi braves simply for the sake of the victims' heads. The headmen admitted the truth of the charges and in accordance with the rules laid down, this being a first officen, the Deputy-Commissioner fined the village 20 cattle, 50 spears and 20 daos, to be paid within two days. One khel of the village refused to pay and was therefore burnt at the expiration of that time. The remaining khels paid up their share of the fine.
text: Sukomi. The headman of Sukomi was charged with having treacherously killed in May 1888 at what was intended to have been a friendly meeting to settle a land dispute, the chief of a smaller village of Sukomi, named Nyeketho. A fine of ten cattle imposed in this case not having been paid, Sukomi was burnt after the expiry of two days.
text: Sahepu's village. A man of this village was charged with murdering in September 1888 a girl of Kilimi. The crime was admitted and the village was fined eight cattle which were duly made over to the Deputy-Commissioner.
text: Kalhopu's village. A raiding party from this village killed a woman of Philimi in December 1888. The charge was found proven. The village being very small, and not previously visited, was fined five cattle. The fine was paid.
text: Kukiapu's village. This village was charged by Chelokisami with having killed a trader from the latter village in December 1888. The murder was admitted and the village fined five cattle. The fine was realised.
text: Chelokisami. Philimi accused this village of killing one of their men a few days before the Deputy-Commissioner's visit. On enquiry, it turned out that the man killed was caught in the act of cattle-stealing and was at once killed. Chelokisami, being a comparatively civilised community, was fined Rs.150 for thus taking the law into its own hands. The fine was duly paid.
text: Mapumi, or new Latesami. This village confessed to having killed two men of Keromechimi, an ally of Emilomi, in revenge for the murder of three women of Latesami by Emilomi. A fine of twelve cattle was imposed in default of payment of which after a delay of five days, the village was destroyed.
text: Ratami. This village, for killing two men of Keromechimi at some time unknown, but after the last promenade, was fined eight cattle, which were duly delivered to the Deputy-Commissioner.
text: Satemi. This is an independent village lying in the upper Tizu valley. For killing two women of Sataka's village in the political control during the cold weather of 1888-89, it was fined ten cattle. The fine was realised.
text: Besides the above cases, there was another case, viz. Chelokisami versus Nangatang, a Lhota village in British territory, in which it was alleged the Lhotas had caused the death of a Sema of Chelokisami in a fight about fishery rights. The case was re-investigated by the Deputy-Commissioner and a number of palpably false statements having been made by the Chelokisami people about the case, the decision of the sub-divisional officer, Wokha, fining Chelokisami, was confirmed.
text: Up to the month of September, no fresh cases were reported from the Sema country, but in that month Emilomi was again charged with the murder of a man of Kukiapu's village and the sons of the two women of Sukomi by way of revenge, about the same time. To punish these new offences, the Deputy-Commissioner visited both the guilty villages in October from Kohima, while to add to the effect of this punitive action, the sub-divisional officer, Mokokchang, met him at Emilomi from the Mokokchang side.
text: Emilomi, second offence. One khel only of Emilomi was found responsible, and it was fined 25 cattle, this being the second offence of this village. The fine was not paid and the guilty khel was accordingly destroyed, along with all the grain found it it, on the third day. In none of the previous cases had grain been destroyed, this now being done to show that the repetition of offences would lead to enhanced punishment.
text: Nyeketho's village. In the case of the sons of Nyeketho who had murdered the Sukomi women, a fine of 15 cattle, 20 spears and 20 daos was imposed, a fairly heavy fine for the size of the village which numbered 60 houses only. The fine was paid up in full with the assistance of various friendly Sema chiefs.