THE Indian High Commission is considering building a monument in Tailevu to remember the lives of indentured labourers who died on the ill-fated Syria.
High Commissioner Vinod Kumar visited the two grave sites at Vunivatu Bay along Kiuva Beach and Matanicagi in Tailevu on Saturday where the girmitiya are buried, close to the spot where the slave ship struck a reef.
"We are grateful to the people of Kiuva for offering their land to bury the unfortunate victims that were on board the Syria," Mr Kumar said.
"This was the first time I visited the grave sites and my thoughts were with the victims, the conditions of their travel and their unfortunate end."
The villagers of Kiuva requested that a pathway be built as a trail to the cemeteries at the two sites.
"I will make these requests to the government of India as soon as possible," Mr Kumar said.
"The government of India will have to look at it and make a decision."
Mr Kumar said the villagers also requested assistance for the upgrading of roads in the area but Mr Kumar said this request would be sent to his government later.
"The government of India is thankful to Kiuva Village and other nearby villages for supporting the passengers from the Syria, for helping bring back those who were still alive and also offering their land for the burial of the unfortunate victims."
Village spokesman Seremaia Waqainabete said the trail to the grave sites and the monument were deserving of the victims buried there as they gave up their lives to travel to a foreign country.
"This will recognise their unprecedented contribution to what Fiji is today," he said.
"Their monument will commemorate their sacrifice and allow the dead to rest in peace."
Source: The Fiji Times, Monday, September 30, 2013
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