Guwahati: A three-member allocation of the Japanese government on Wednesday started digging a special site in the Guwahati War Cemetery to dig up the remains of 11 of its soldiers who perished in World War II in order to take them home for a formal official burial before a reunification with their relevant families.
Ken Miyashita, Deputy Director in the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry in Tokyo said that “We have got some data from the Commonwealth War Grave Commission that the Guwahati War Cemetery has graves of 11 Japanese soldiers who died in Northeast India during the Second World War. We propose to take whatever remains we find here for an official burial in our country.”
Half-a-dozen labourers offered by the local administration here dug the whole row of 11 graves up to four feet depth, although no major remains could be located till sunset on Wednesday. However, the Japanese officials collected some remains, but refused to comment.
J N Pathak, a local magistrate supervising the digging said that nothing can be found out unless confirmed by the forensic laboratory. Officials from the archaeology department and forensic science laboratory were also present during the digging which will prolong on Thursday too.
The Guwahati War Cemetery, established in 1952 by shifting graves, mainly of soldiers who had died in different hospitals during the War, has 521 graves, 11 of which be in Japanese soldiers.
Others buried or cremated here comprise 324 British, 143 Indian, 24 Chinese, four Canadian, four South African and one from New Zealand and two unidentified soldiers. This is also the first time that a CWGC cemetery in India is being dug up for moved a grave.