The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts on Nagas from 'Assam Administration Report'

caption: Naga Hills district
caption: Relations with Tributary States and Frontier Affairs
caption: (ii) The Semas
medium: reports
person: Joriku/ of Zimethu
ethnicgroup: Sema
location: Nonumi Toku Nasami Kukyapu Naghami Sheyepu (Shehepu) Kolopu Lazami (Lozema) Ghovishe Keleki R.
date: 1896
date: 1897
text: 64. The following serious cases occurred within the area of the Sema political control:
text: (1) Riot about land between Nonumi and Toku Nasami. In this case Nonumi, a large village, took up and cultivated certain land belonging to Toku Nasami. On the Toku Nasami men objecting, Nonumi turned out in force and chased the Toku Nasami men for a couple of miles injuring several of them with stones. As Nonumi were entirely to blame, they were fined Rs.100.
text: (2) Murder of a boy of Kukyapu Naghami by some person or persons unknown. One man of Lisimi was arrested for this offence but was discharged as the evidence against him was insufficient. Up to the close of the year the perpetrators of this murder remained undiscovered, though suspicion lies on the village of Seromi.
text: (3) Riot about land between the villages of Zimethu and Shehepu.
text: In this affair, nine lives were lost, spears being used. The facts are as follows: at the end of the December 1896, Zimethu's people at the instigation of their headman Joriku, felled the jungle on certain land belonging to Shehepu's village preliminary to cultivating it. This led to a dispute between the villages which they agreed to settle by fighting it out. In the fighting that followed the Shehepu people got the worst of it, losing seven men killed; the loss on the Zimethu's side was two only. They must have greatly outnumbered their opponents as they had a contingent from Kolopu to help them. In February the Deputy Commissioner visited both villages and found them empty, the inhabitants having fled and concealed their grain. At Shehepu's the houses had also been burnt by the inhabitants. The Deputy Commissioner halted a day at Shehepu's and after collecting a fine of eight cows, moved on to Zimethu's village where as the headman would not come in, he burnt the empty huts and ordered that the village should not be re-built until the headman submitted and paid a fine of twenty-five cows, or Rs.250. At the end of March the Deputy Commissioner was again in the Sema country and re-visited Zimethu's village which had been re-built, and he again burnt the temporary huts erected as the headman still refused to submit and had made no effort to collect the fine demanded. Outside the political control area one very serious crime was perpetrated. This was the murder of two Lozema traders at Ghovishe's village on the night of the 26th March. The Deputy Commissioner was then on tour in that direction with an escort of 50 Military Police and he at once went to Ghovishe's village which he found empty. After halting there a day he burnt the village and all the grain he could find. The two men who were murdered had gone to Ghovishe's village to trade and had been well received by the headman and given food and drink. The same night while they were asleep in the headman's house, they were murdered by two men who were chosen by the villagers to commit the crime. One of these men, a refugee from another village, was arrested by the headman and sent into the Deputy Commissioner's camp with the story that he alone had killed the two men and that the headman and the village at large knew nothing of the matter. On examination of the prisoner, however, it turned out that this story was false and that the murder had been decided on by the whole village. The state of the dead bodies too, which had several wounds on them, made it evident that more than one man was concerned in the murder. This made it necessary to punish the whole village. Lozema, to which village the murdered men belonged, lies within the revenue-paying portion of the sadr subdivision. The Sema political road is now in good order. Rest-huts have been built all along the road and arrangements are being made to keep it open throughout the rains. A bridge for the Keleki river has been ordered and when this has been erected, the road will be complete. It now affords a good alternative route from Kohima to Mokokchang, though it takes two days longer than marching via Wokha.