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UKHRUL | Nov 6
Minister PHED, Losii Dikho attended the opening ceremony as chief guest of the on-going Centenary celebration of the World War I Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps (1917-18) and other Labour Corps of the 22nd Manipur Labour Corps Company at TNL Ground, Ukhrul.
Deputy British high commissioner of India, Bruce Bucknell and Air Force Defence Attache in India and Nepal, colonel Ludovic Dumont representative of France Embassy New Delhi were the guests of honour.
Inspector general of Police, Manipur, I. K. Muivah, Colonel Brigade of Gurkha British Army, colonel James Robinson and colonel, Royal Engineers British Army, Tom Marsden were the special guests.
President in charge, Tangkhul Naga Long, P. Peimi, and president of Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long, AS Vaomi attended the event functional president while DC Ukhrul, Dr. Harmit Singh Pahuja; SP Ukhrul, Worngam Ningshen; HA. Sarimaya, Hunphun Awunga and AS. Wungayung Peter Hungpung Awunga were the special invitees.
Losii Dikho, in his speech welcomed the dignitaries from Britain and France to Manipur and also conveyed warm love and best wishes from the chief minister of Manipur. He stated that it is a proud moment for all to commemorate the contribution, sacrifice and service of our forefathers. He gave respect and salutation to the forefathers and stated that our forefathers have sacrificed their life believing in the cause.
Bruce Bucknell, in his speech thanked the World War I Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps Association for their persistent and ingenuity in bringing them all to celebrate and remembered the service and sacrifice given hundred years ago. He stated that it is through memory that we will give honour and dignity to the ancestors. He stated that we are bound together by the event of First World War which ended on November 11, 1918. He stated that one lesson that came out of the First World War for generations of people, politician, diplomats and decision makers is to think really hard before sending the young people to war and to possible death.
Bruce Bucknell gave honour and dignity to ancestors of Indian who have helped British and who have fought against British. He stated that the British alone could not have conducted the war alone without French allies and the support by nearly 15 Lakhs of Indians.
He informed that 21000 Labour Corps from India participated and 1200 alone came from Ukhrul District and 170 did not come back. “One day, I will come back and I hope to see the colour of your labour corps, the flower perhaps of Manipur because we need to remember and give dignity to our ancestors,” he added.
He wished Ukhrul district prosperity in the future and the ability to rise and support others just as their fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and ancestors have given support during the First World War.
Ludovic Dumont, in his speech gave honour to the labour corps for the service and the life they have sacrificed for both the countries. He mentioned that France have never forgotten the suffering and the sacrifice of the Labour Corps and on this day would like to thank and paid a rich tribute. He stated that we shall cherished, above all the memory and the example they have set -they who took the first steps towards the final victory.
IK Muivah, unveiled the monument dedicated in memory of the 2000 labour corps from 22 Manipur Labour Corps Company. The dignitaries present gave military salutation and wreath laying as a mark of respect and remembrance.
Thousands of Tangkhul public and descendants of labour corps attended the said opening programme. During the programme, World War I Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps Association (WWITNLCA) also submitted a memorandum to the Government of Manipur for construction of Museum at Ukhrul.