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Commonwealth MPs pay tribute to WW-II martyrs

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GUWAHATI, Feb 19 � �Democracy has always faced threats, but the highly fragile situation today demands more vocal support for democracy from the democratic countries and civil society as well. We, from the democratic world, need to stand up and uphold democracy and put more emphasis on dignity of democratic rule.�

Paying homage to the soldiers who laid down their lives for democratic rights of the people in the Second World War, Baroness D�Souza CMG, the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, made the above comment about the present crisis, specially referring to the situation in the Middle East.

Baroness D�Souza led a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation to the CWGC Gauhati War Cemetery on Thursday and paid respect to the soldiers.

�It was moving to start our first visit to Guwahati by paying our respect to the soldiers amid a solemn ambience. The cemetery has been kept very beautifully so long after the end of the World War,� she said.

�In Assam, the visit is about learning more about the place and its people. We would take part in a young leaders� conference where representatives from Myanmar are also present,� she added.

Nine members from the United Kingdom�s House of Lords and the House of Commons joined the Lord Speaker in paying their respects at the cemetery, where 486 Commonwealth servicemen are either buried or commemorated.

The parliamentarians are in India to strengthen links and cooperation between India and Britain.

The delegation would be in Guwahati on Thursday and Friday following a series of meetings and interactive sessions in Delhi and Kolkata.

Other members of the delegation include the Lord Balfe of Dulwich, member of the House of Lords, Simon Burns Member of Parliament for Chelmsford Eastern, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Member of the House of Lords, Andy Love, Member of Parliament for Edmonton, London, Lord Purvis of Tweed, Member of the House of Lords, Dame Angela Watkinson DBE, Member of Parliament for Upminster, London, Andrew Tuggey DL, Chief Executive and Secretary, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, UK Branch, Hatty Cooper, Head of International Outreach Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Simon Blackburn, Private Secretary to the Lord Speaker.

The CWGC maintains the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two World Wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.

The CWGC Gauhati War Cemetery, Guwahati, was started during the Second World War for burials from the several military hospitals posted in the area. Later, other graves were brought in by the Army Graves Service from Amari Bari Military Cemetery, Sylhet Military Cemetery, Mohachara Cemetery, Nowgong Civil Cemetery and Gauhati Civil Cemetery, where permanent maintenance could not be assured.

For the same reason, further graves were brought to the cemetery from isolated sites in the Lushai Hills and from civil cemeteries in Badarpur, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Dinjan, Katapahar, Lebong, Lumding, Shillong and Silchar, in 1952.

Twenty-five of the burials in the cemetery are unidentified. The cemetery also contains 24 Chinese war graves, and two non-war graves.

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Commonwealth MPs pay tribute to WW-II martyrs

GUWAHATI, Feb 19 � �Democracy has always faced threats, but the highly fragile situation today demands more vocal support for democracy from the democratic countries and civil society as well. We, from the democratic world, need to stand up and uphold democracy and put more emphasis on dignity of democratic rule.�

Paying homage to the soldiers who laid down their lives for democratic rights of the people in the Second World War, Baroness D�Souza CMG, the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, made the above comment about the present crisis, specially referring to the situation in the Middle East.

Baroness D�Souza led a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation to the CWGC Gauhati War Cemetery on Thursday and paid respect to the soldiers.

�It was moving to start our first visit to Guwahati by paying our respect to the soldiers amid a solemn ambience. The cemetery has been kept very beautifully so long after the end of the World War,� she said.

�In Assam, the visit is about learning more about the place and its people. We would take part in a young leaders� conference where representatives from Myanmar are also present,� she added.

Nine members from the United Kingdom�s House of Lords and the House of Commons joined the Lord Speaker in paying their respects at the cemetery, where 486 Commonwealth servicemen are either buried or commemorated.

The parliamentarians are in India to strengthen links and cooperation between India and Britain.

The delegation would be in Guwahati on Thursday and Friday following a series of meetings and interactive sessions in Delhi and Kolkata.

Other members of the delegation include the Lord Balfe of Dulwich, member of the House of Lords, Simon Burns Member of Parliament for Chelmsford Eastern, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Member of the House of Lords, Andy Love, Member of Parliament for Edmonton, London, Lord Purvis of Tweed, Member of the House of Lords, Dame Angela Watkinson DBE, Member of Parliament for Upminster, London, Andrew Tuggey DL, Chief Executive and Secretary, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, UK Branch, Hatty Cooper, Head of International Outreach Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Simon Blackburn, Private Secretary to the Lord Speaker.

The CWGC maintains the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two World Wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.

The CWGC Gauhati War Cemetery, Guwahati, was started during the Second World War for burials from the several military hospitals posted in the area. Later, other graves were brought in by the Army Graves Service from Amari Bari Military Cemetery, Sylhet Military Cemetery, Mohachara Cemetery, Nowgong Civil Cemetery and Gauhati Civil Cemetery, where permanent maintenance could not be assured.

For the same reason, further graves were brought to the cemetery from isolated sites in the Lushai Hills and from civil cemeteries in Badarpur, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Dhubri, Dibrugarh, Dinjan, Katapahar, Lebong, Lumding, Shillong and Silchar, in 1952.

Twenty-five of the burials in the cemetery are unidentified. The cemetery also contains 24 Chinese war graves, and two non-war graves.