Imphal, June 27: Manipur remembered the World War II heroes who died here, by paying homage to soldiers killed in the war.
People paid tributes at Imphal Indian War Cemetery and Imphal War Cemetery, which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The commission and an organising committee of Imphal commemorated the 70th anniversary of Battle of Imphal.
Imphal was one of the theatres of the World War II where the Allied Forces fought fierce battles with Japanese soldiers, in which thousands were killed.
The main highlights of today’s programme were paying floral tributes and homage to the war heroes and an all-religious prayer meeting.
War graves commission director Barry Murphy, Australian high commission first secretary (defence) Jane Spicer, US embassy military attaché Col Larry J. Redmon, British deputy high commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood, Manipur governor V.K. Duggal and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam were among those who attended the programme.
Hugo Slim, son of Lt Gen. William Slim, who was stationed in Imphal during the war, also attended the programme.
“I am very happy to be here in Imphal, where British soldiers, including my father, fought. Today will be a memorable day,” Hugo said.
By the summer of 1943, British forces were beginning to dominate in the skies with Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft operating out of India. Japan knew that an offensive into India was the only way they could eliminate the aerial threat.
Japanese troops decided that controlling northeastern India would also create a larger buffer zone between India and Burma. The British planned to invade Burma and used Imphal as a launch point for ground troops. Thus, the battle broke out in Imphal.
“We are praying today for all those who laid down their lives far away from their homes in this place, which most of them never knew existed before they were sent here for the battle,” Duggal said in his speech.
Stating that wars cause great losses, the governor lamented that despite this knowledge conflicts still continued leading to human miseries. “There is, therefore, a need to settle all differences though negotiations in the present civilized world. War should not longer have a place in society now.”