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Memories that always return

By Thongkholal Haokip

Twenty four years ago Naga Lim Guard killed more than a hundred innocent Kuki villagers on 13th September 1993 in Tamenglong district of Manipur. These villagers were fleeing after a ‘quit notice’ was served to them by the United Naga Council, an apex body of the Naga tribes of Manipur, on 10th September to leave their villages in the Naga dominated areas, in the erstwhile Jampi area, before the 15th of September, otherwise their secure passage to Sadar Hills via Tamei would come to an end. On the 11th of September Joupi villagers performed the last rite of their kidnapped village chief assuming that he had been killed. The church bell rang for the last service, though it was not Sunday. The following day the entire villagers left their village with resounding cries at the last glimpse of their homesteads. Rushing on their way towards their sanctuary before the deadline, they were intercepted by Naga ultras en route Tamei on 13th September. The victims on that day were tied behind, killed with dao not sparing women, children or the aged, and their mutilated dead bodies either thrown in the river or buried to conceal. On the same day several others were also killed in Janglenphai and in Gelnel just the previous day. These massacres were the highest number of deaths in a single day in the Kuki-Naga conflict of 1993, which continues to simmer till today. The day is observed annually by the Kukis around the world as Sahnit-ni or Black Day.

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