1900-1919 | Bombing villages | Collective punishments | Livestock targeted | Pakistan | Punitive operations

Three Waziri villages destroyed – 5600 cattle seized

General Charles Egerton – 
public domain via Wikimedia

[ 29 November 1902 ]

On 29 November 1902, a Reuters correspondent at Peshawar on India’s North West Frontier reported on ‘a punitive expedition’ against the Kabul Khels, a Waziri ethnic group, for previous raids into British held territory. He boasted that as a result of a four pronged invasion of the area by four columns of 3000 soldiers and cavalry under General Charles Egerton, ‘5,600 cattle have been taken… 202 Waziris are prisoners, 25 have been killed and two wounded.’ He added that ‘the villages of Gumatti, Chawri and Hassan Khel have been destroyed and levelled to the ground,’ and concluded that ‘the effect on the offending tribes has been salutary. They now recognise that it is not permissible to raid British territory.’1 He did not question the indiscriminate nature of the destruction and seizure of cattle or consider how the population might survive the winter without shelter or food. Nor did the correspondent know that in recognition of his dedicated work in terrorizing the villagers and destroying their livelihoods, Egerton would be made Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 1 January 1903.


  1. ‘The Punitive Expedition in Northern India,’ The Manchester Evening News, 29 November 1902, p. 2 and ‘The Indian Frontier: The Result of the Punitive Expedition,’ The Western Evening Herald, 29 November 1902, p2 and Army Headquarters India, Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India, Vol II, Low Price Publications, Delhi, 2004, pp. 445-449. Also available online at https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.96937/page/n5/mode/2up

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