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rahul.karmakar@hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times
August 15, 2009
Corporal Henry Vincent Farley and 16 of his comrades-in-arms of the Loyal (North Lancashire) Regiment will soon don new headstones. It’s not a renovation. It’s just that thieves have taken off with the original bronze epitaphs on their graves at the cemetery here. These grave robbers have struck twice since May.

Sixty-three years after their martyrdom fighting the Japanese in World War II (1944), the British Royal Army soldiers will have laminated prints couriered from London.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission — which marks, records and maintains the graves of Commonwealth military forces killed during the World Wars — however, chose to play it down. “Headstones were removed for renovation,” it said.

But the Nagaland police have been trying to nab the thieves. “We have raided scrap dealers without results,” said a police officer.

He said the thieves had earned Rs. 25,500-odd by selling the metal in the black market. The 17 epitaphs weighed close to 85 kilograms.

The commission’s Imphal-based regional manager Salew Pfotte inspected the war memorial and sent his report to London, stressing the need for security. “We are yet to get a response,” he said.