TODAY -
Warrior' village now deserted as Naga threat looms
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Agencies

Silchar, July 05 2009: They had once guarded the erstwhile Dimasa kingdom with all their might from invaders and Naga head-hunters.

Now, they can barely protect their own lives.

The wicked surge of ethnic violence threatens to annihilate the last of the Semsas, Dimasa inhabitants of the remote Semkhor village in NC Hills district, which lost six lives in a raid by the Nagas last week.

On Sunday, the death toll in Semkhor rose to seven, with a 27-year-old woman succumbing to her injuries.

Kamthang Fanglo had been admitted to Haflong Civil Hospital with multiple bullets injuries.

According to doctors, there were more than 20 bullets and splinters embedded in her back, left leg and stomach.

The medicos needed a huge quantity of blood to operate upon Fanglo.

But, hospital sources said, as the required amount was not available, the operation was not possible in time and she died.

With Fanglo's death, the list of those killed in the Semkhor raid village now includes five children and two women.

Two of the children died on the spot on Wednesday when a group of armed Naga militants attacked the unarmed villagers.

The troubled central Assam district has been bleeding due to ethnic clashes between Dimasa and Naga rebels since March this year.

A total of 63 persons have been killed in the district since March.

Following Wednesday's attack, the villagers of Semkhor abandoned their houses and took shelter in nearby Mahur locality.

The Semsa clan of the Dimasa tribe have a head count of only 400 persons and live in Semkhor, 73 km from Haflong, the headquarters of NC Hills district, in a group.

They are a part of the greater Dimasa tribes and, according to history, they were warriors and were responsible for guarding the Dimasa kingdom in the seventh century.

During the reign of King Tamradhwaj Narayan (1699-1708) of the Dimasa kingdom, who had his capital at Maibang in NC Hills, the Semsas were ordered to settle down in Semkhor, near the Nagaland border, to prevent the dreaded Naga head-hunters from entering into the Dimasa kingdom.

They were also given the duty of guarding two wells inside the village, which were the only source of salt in the region.

History books record that when the Dimasa people of the Kingdom were fleeing to the plains of Cachar because of attacks from neighbouring Manipur and Nagaland, the Semsa population remained there as sentinels to guard the kingdom on the orders of the king.

Such was the lore of valour and might that was associated with the Semsas.

But now, they are mere shadows of their fearless ancestors, constantly being hounded and butchered to the point of extinction.

A Haflong-based social scientist said, "The number of Semsas has been dwindling day by day as education, health facilities and other modern amenities are not there.

We are surprised to find that these "warriors" are disappearing by the day.

They have also become homeless now.

If the government fails to come up with a sincere approach for their social security, this community of people can't be saved from extinction".


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