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WW-II Cemetery hotbed of anti-social activities

Tools used for removing the Bronze epitaphs recovered by the workers in the WW-II Cemetery. Collection of litter inside the cemetery. (NP)
Correspondent Kohima, Jul 20(NPN):
Published on 21 Jul. 2009 1:09 AM IST
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Kohima’s famed World War II Commonwealth War Graves a historical monument has fallen prey to acts of vandalism with the discovery of thefts of bronze epitaphs in two separate incidents recently. Despite restrictions on entry to the famed War Cemetery, a total of 17 epitaphs were reportedly stolen during the past few days from the graves. The first theft took place sometime in the last part of March this year when miscreants removed five epitaphs. The miscreants struck again on July 5 last by removing another twelve epitaphs. Each epitaph weighed around 4-5 Kgs. Both the incidents supposedly took place at night and from the same spot where rows of graveyards lay below the parking lot. Workers of the cemetery also recovered several tools including a ply, a hammer, two shovels and a wrench used by the miscreants to remove the epitaphs. Following the incidences, FIRs were lodged with the police. No arrests have been made so far till the time of filing this report. Regional Manager, Commonwealth Graveyard Commission, Salew Pfotte, on a two-day official inspection, accompanied by the Manager of the War Cemetery Kohima, Lhouvizosier Mezhur Sekhose briefed the media persons Monday. The cemetery management authority also revealed that they were confronted with another problem in dealing with offenders indulging in anti-social and immoral activities inside the cemetery. Many youths, mostly school going children in school uniforms; skip classes to while away their time inside the cemetery the whole day. The truants often indulge in drinking beverages and alcohol, sniff dendrites, eraser ink and nail polish removers and also litter the cemetery with empty bottles and plastics. It was also disclosed that many young teenage couples often visit the cemetery and indulge in obscene acts in broad daylight which offend tourists visiting the cemetery. “Whenever we try to scold and chase these young children, they often retort back with threats and intimidate us instead” , said the head gardener . “These children not only litter the cemetery with plastics, empty bottles and broken bottles but also spit on the walls draw all sorts of unwanted graphics on the walls and tablets. They also urinate in every corner and destroy flowers and shrubs” the head gardener said. Expressing helplessness in checking the menace due to absence of security guards, the managing authority of the cemetery has appealed for cooperation from the general public in this regard. Lhouvisier said the management would have no option but to begin deployment of security guards round the clock inside the cemetery with more restrictions if such undesirable activities continue.

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