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Brief history of Pochury Black Day (6th September)

The NNC leadership, at one of its meeting held at Washelo in May 1960, had resolved to flush the Indians armed force out of Naga territory. To achieve this goal, the Naga Army attacked the 14th Assam Rifle outpost at Thuda (Phor Village) in Pochury area. The attack was undertaken by the Eastern Command 1st Brigade under the command of Major General Zuheto, along with the then 4th Battalion of Pochury region under the command of Lt. Colonel Thorpa. The monsoon was at its height during the time and the major rivers like Tizu, Lanye and Theths? were in full spate. The attack was launched on 14th August 1960 after destroying all the six bridges on all the rivers. This was done to stop reinforcement from reaching the besieged army post.
As the attack continued into the third day, ammunitions on both sides were running short and on several occasions, the Indian Air Force plane tried to drop relief materials and ammunitions but were prevented by the Naga Army. At the same time the Indian Air Force jet fighter strafe the attacker’s position.
An Indian transport plane bearing No. DC-3, HJ233 (Dakota) trying to drop relief materials and ammunitions to the besieged post was shot down by the Naga Army on 4th day of the siege and crash landed at Zathsü, a paddy field of Meluri Village. In fact, this was the first plane ever shot down by the Naga Army in the history of Naga Struggle for sovereignty. The Naga Army captured four (4) of its pilot and five (5) crew members. The captured Flight officers were Capt. AnandSinha, Flight Officer R.E Rapheal, and Sgt. J.C Chowdury. This led to a heavy army operation in Pochury area by the Indian Army, who were in the mission to search and rescue the captured airmen- none of whom were ever tortured but were later set free through the Indian Red Cross Society. In the process of the Army operations to rescue the airmen many villages were burnt down and untold atrocities and tortures were inflicted upon the villagers.
On 1st September 1960, 6(six) villagers from Phor village were tortured to death. Their names are as follows;
1. Lt. Türachu, Village chief
2. Lt. Yutsüchu, Pastor
3. Lt. Chupchu, DB
4. Lt. Yitüchu, GB
5. Lt. Türüchu, GB
6. Lt. Müghazu, GB
Again on September 3, 1960 another 3 (three) villagers from Yisi Village were beaten to death, their name are as follows:
1. Lt. Mazu, GB
2. Lt. Throchu
3. Lt. Mazu RP
Two villagers from Mokie Village also beaten to death their Names are as follows:
1. Lt.Yichühu
2. Lt. Nyupuchu
In Laruri village, Lt. Lingsang was buried alive after severe beating.
Lt. Nyukhrüsüh and Lt. Rhorüpa of Meluri village were beaten severely after which, their heads were chopped off.
Two villages namely Tsiküzo and Küluopfü, were abandoned due to tortures humiliations meted out by the Indian army.
On 6th September 1960, the 16th Punjab regiment posted at Kangjang village reached Matikhrü village around 10 am. The entire village was encircled in three rings and all villagers were ordered to gather in one place. Men-folks were separated from women and children.
All the men were made to keep jumping and sit-ups, for more than 5 hours in the scorching sun, naked. Any signs of tiredness were with kicks and hits with rifle butts. Then just before sun-set, the Indian Army not satisfied with the punishment meted out to the villagers, rounded them up inside the village chief’s house and were forced to sit head down like lamb being lead to its slaughter.
Lt. Thah, the then village chief, knowing what was in store for them bravely volunteered to sacrifice. He stood bravely for the Naga cause even to his last breath and said “IT’S A MAN’S PRIDE. NO SURRENDER, NO COMPROMISE FOR OUR BIRTH RIGHT, THIS SACRIFICE IS TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM. I SHALL GLADLY LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THE NAGA FUTURE GENERATION”. Then Indian army jawans, holding a blunt dao chopped-off the head of Lt. Pogholo, who was the first in the line.
Witnessing the brutality and horror in front of their eyes and knowing that all of them were going to be killed, one of the villagers managed to escape the execution forcefully. Then one after another, heads rolled down, separated from the bodies, and in the event a total of nine lives were lost.
Their names are as follows:
1. Lt. Thah
2. Lt. Pogholo
3. Lt. Mezitso
4. Lt. Pongoi
5. Lt. Eyetshü
6. Lt. Zasituo
7. Lt. Thitu
8. Lt. Kekhwezu
9. Lt. KezüKhwelo
The Indian army did not ever allow the loved ones to perform last rites and rituals for the dead. All the death bodies were dump inside the village chief’s house and were burnt down to ashes along with the other houses and granaries.
The women and children who had fled to the jungle to evade the horror and torture of Indian Army came back the next morning to find the whole village burnt down to ashes.
Lt. Thitu who narrowly escaped from the execution was found by his wife Mrs. Rhütarüh with three cuts on the neck, stomach slashed and intestines thrown out. He quoted “LOVE, TELL MY BELOVED CHILDREN THE SACRIFICE I BEAR FOR THEM AND I AM WAITING TO DIE ON YOUR LAP WITH A CUP OF WATER” and after drinking, he breathed his last. Another victim Lt. Zasituo, traveling pastor, was also found almost dead with multiple injuries on the chest and neck. Not long after, he died. Then the horrified women and children with no means simply covered the death bodies with mud and left for the jungles fearing the Indian army might turn up any time.
For days together, the survivors wandered in deep jungle without proper food and shelter. The wild berries and fruits of the jungle were their only food and means of glorious sacrifice made by their menfolk’s. In extreme condition of hardships and difficulty, many more precious lives were lost.
The Naga Army then came to their rescue. They were given food, shelter and protection. Even today, the nightmares and tragedy of the incident still remains fresh in the mind of the survivors. In this long dispersion and exodus, the survivors entered Burma and stayed with the Naga Army in their camp at Sathi where Gavin Young of London Observer met them in the later part of 1961. In his book “Indo-Naga War”, he has written in page 29-30 that when he met the survivors; there were only a pathetic thirty people. They spent their life in the wilderness for two and half years. In 1963, village re-establishment took place but normal lives could not be restored for many years.
The people of Pochury then observe 6th September as “BLACK DAY” in memory of all those who suffered and laid down their lives for the greater glory and freedom of the Naga.Iit is a day of sadness and a day to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the martyrs.
Pochury Students’ Union