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The eviction of Nibodi village in 1979 forever changed the history of our people. The 60 families in that village were displaced and became wanderers in their own homeland. We tell here those stories from a series of interviews to people who knew the stories. We spent three days (17-19 May) rigorously digging the hidden memories. Here we share what we found. This is not intended to bring any ill feelings to anyone but to document and share what actually happen.
I thank Phususa, Jesasey and Barak for joining together to glean these information. We acknowledge what we present below is just the beginning. Continue to share your findings with us. That way the knowledge of the past could be preserved for us and for future generations.
Note: All government records used 52 Miles instead of Nibodi/ꓠꓲ-ꓐꓳ-ꓓꓲ or Aguhomu/ꓮ-ꓖꓴ-ꓧꓳ-ꓟꓴꓽꓸ
NIBODI EVICTION WAS JUST A BEGINNING
On 22 February 1979, worst incident happened. The Forest Department along with the police evicted our houses belonging to 60 families (letter of MLAs). Nothing was left standing except the church building.
- Houses were cut down.
- Bundles of maize were burnt to the fire. No food was spared.
- The inhabitants were chased out.
- All the household implements such as axe, bows, arrows, daos, saws, quivers were looted by the Forest Officials. A notification was issued by the Deputy Commission giving the complete numbers of each item they took away. I wonder where they are stored now.
One story was told that after this gruesome activity was done, the forest people wanted to exchange salt for meat!
Perhaps, this incident happen when all Yobin/Lisu were called back to Gandhigram to register themselves for the issue of Refugee Identity card (At that time people were proud about the card with their name and photo! Little did they realize what that was then. Only later, all those cards were packed and returned to the government).
At this eviction, there were some people that our older generation still remembers. K. Chithan (currently living in Upper Colony) was an intelligence person and was present there. Late Lala (He lived near Miao Town Baptist Church) was a forester, Forest Department of Miao.
Another policeman was there. He and Yothe/ꓬꓳ-ꓕꓱꓽ (sister of Aphinaga/ꓮ-ꓒꓲ-ꓠ-ꓖ) were attracted to each other. Later the same policeman was transferred to Vijoynagar. They fell in love there and got married. The policeman later passed away and the woman is still living, most probably in East Siang.
Two or three years later: Some of those from Nibodi went on to settle at Miphuto/ꓟꓲ-ꓒꓶ-ꓔꓳ. Again the forest people under the initiative of Yang Tikhak, CO of Vijoynagar, the houses were burnt down to the ground. It was executed by the police post of Gandhigram. (In those days there was a police station in Gandhigram. It was located opposite of Dusaye’s/ꓓꓴ-ꓢ-ꓬꓯꓼ house.). Those days there were 5-6 families in Miphuto. Some of those were Late Phuame/ꓒꓴ-ꓮ-ꓟꓯꓼ and Late Chizoloti/ꓚꓲꓸ-ꓜꓳ-ꓡꓳ-ꓔꓲꓸ The other families were lost to the memories.
A year later after Miphuto eviction: Eviction continued. By then some of our people went to live near Pritnagar (Nepali settlement), called Badadi/ꓐ-ꓓ-ꓓꓰ. There again under the CO of Vijoynagar, Mr T. Bage (by then Yang Tikhak was transferred), the houses were burnt. From there our people were scattered to various other villages.
Asim Maitra, a research scholar who did extensive research and published two books on Yobin/Lisu, mentioned there were four Yobin families at Badadi. But when he returned to Gandhigram in 1982, they were evicted (Maitra 1993:13).
None of these evictions is found in records or publications. They are hidden in the official records of respective departments and in the memories of those living in those days.
Further, I am yet to verify for one of those evictions, which was executed on Christmas Day while our people were celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, all their properties were gone to ashes.