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Mumbai: The Assam Rifles has constructed a combined war memorial in Nagaland for the 357 Army and Assam Rifles personnel killed while fighting insurgency in the Northeastern state, a senior Assam Rifles officer said on Wednesday.
The memorial has been built at Mokokchung, which is also the cultural and intellectual centre of Nagaland.
“This memorial is the first of its kind in Nagaland, which also has the famous Second World War Cemetery at Kohima. Christened “Veer Samriti”, the memorial is spread over 13,500 sq ft and was built by 44 Assam Rifles,” the officer told PTI.
Nagaland has seen decades of insurgency, leading to loss of lives for the security forces and Naga insurgents.
“Since 1955 when insurgency first cast its ugly shadow in Nagaland, lives of 357 personnel from the Army and Assam Rifles have been lost. Their sacrifice has not been in vain for Nagaland today is limping back to normalcy and is an important cog in India’s Act East Policy,” he said.
“The Assam Rifles authorities in Nagaland felt it was necessary to have a memorial that was befitting the supreme sacrifice made by our men in uniform and one which also acts as a beacon of motivation for future generations in the state and country,” he said.
In the last six decades, many battalions from the Army and almost all battalions of Assam Rifles participated in the counter-insurgency operations, the officer said.
The war memorial has been designed in a concentric circular form, with outer rectangular flower beds as boundary wall. The central arena, the heart of the memorial, comprises two circular podiums with a 19-feet high main memorial mast having three converging posts signifying the Army, Air Force and Assam Rifles.
The names of the 357 martyrs have been carved, each on a single granite stone.
Mokokchung was chosen as the site for the war memorial due to its centrality, richness in culture and because a large number of soldiers were martyred in the district in the line of their duty, he said.
“The sacrifice of these brave men has been the reason why peace and near normalcy has been restored in Nagaland. One of the most decorated officers of the Army, Colonel N J Nair, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra of 16 Maratha Light Infantry, was also martyred in Mokokchung in 1993,” the officer said.
From Nagaland, the martyrs include Naik Nikhuni Mao, Riflemen Lukhubi Sema, Alalmba Ao, Y Nokte, Dule Luwang, Kumar Rangmai, H Konyak and AS Ringphami, all from Assam Rifles and Rifleman H Konyak from 164 Territorial Army Battalion.
The war memorial is located in the Assam Rifles Battalion location and is expected to become an important place of visit for locals, ex-servicemen and other visitors to Mokokchung, he said.
The memorial, which was conceptualised, planned and executed by the Inspector General Assam Rifles (North), will be inaugurated soon, he added.
The Assam Rifles, which was raised in 1835, has also been carrying out counter-insurgency operations in militancy- infested states in the Northeastern region. (PTI)