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In April 1944 the people of Nagaland came across a shock encounter. In the wee hours of the morning, Lt.Puhocho Kennao went to fetch water when he came face to face with heavily armed uniformed soldiers. He had never seen these people before and they were also unknown to any of the villagers. Hurriedly he ran to alert the village. He later came to know that these people were Japanese soldiers who had come for war.The Japanese stationed themselves at Lt Pusa Kechu's compound and later surrounded the village of Viswema which is approximately 21km south of Kohima. Many of the villagers fled to neighbouring Jakhama village. In March 1944, the Japanese felt growing pressure from the Americans in the Pacific region and a felt the constraint of the drain in resources fighting a multi pronged war. They were in desperate need of a victory. During this time, the Indian National Army led by Subhash Chandra Bose gave the Japanese a much needed boost in which they hoped to reach Bengal via Dimapur and hence help turn the tide over to their favour and ultimately defeat the British Army.
However things did not go as planned. The Japanese encountered a surprise at Sangshak village in Manipur. A bloody battle took place from March 22 to 26 and the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade held out for many days against the Japanese attacks. The battle delayed the advancement of the Japanese to Kohima. Before heading onward to Kohima, the Japanese camped out at Viswema and then proceeded to attack Kohima which led to the famous Great battle of Kohima where the Japanese were defeated. The trenches in Kidima village still hold testimony to the fierce battle fought. Today, a cross holds ground there as a symbol of Jesus which stands to proclaim his grace and forgiveness at the spot of the spot of the battle at Prayer Park, Zero Point, Kidima. Even though the Japanese did not make it any further, Subhash Chandra Bose himself advanced till Chozuba, in which a memorial of him has been erected.
The battles which took place in and around Nagaland caused huge amounts of loss and distress to the people there and the defenseless local people had to bear the brunt of not just the soldier's tempers but also their bullets and bombs. Many of the injured were taken to the British military hospital in Peducha. The Indian National Army along with the Imperial Japanese brought about death and destruction in these villages. The elders of Viswema village to this day recount the horrors of war which ranged from shelling, gun battles and fist fights. Even though the villagers had fled, they came back to a completely flattened village and had to rebuild everything from the ground up.
sources : Eastern mirror