Pastor Bakar (left) and Fr Mathew Olili (right) conducting the Christian prayer.
KAPIT: Sept 10, 2016 marked an historic day for Kapit town because it was the first time the town witnessed the removal of six graves from their original site for the purpose of development.
District officer Elvis Didit said this during the exhumation of the six graves in front of the former Kapit district officer’s quarters along Jalan Memora which were moved to the Kapit District Council cemetery at KM3 Jalan Selirik.
A special prayer and offering (miring) were held before the graves were exhumed.
“I hope with the prayer and offering today, the souls of the departed will rest in peace. We have six known graves there but we have not identified the descendants of one of them.
“If someone feels they are the descendant of the deceased, they can contact me even after the moving of the graves to the new site,” he said.
“We’re very thankful to Kapit District Council, we’re very thankful to the descendants for giving us the full cooperation, allowing us to carry out the exhumation today,” he said at the ceremony at the site of the graves on Saturday.
He said they expected to complete the exhumation yesterday and early this morning they would bring the remains of the deceased to the new cemetery.
Conducting the prayers and offering were representatives from the Council of Sarawak Churches Kapit branch led by Fr Mathew Olili of the Catholic Church, Rev Pastor Bakar from Methodist Iban Church and a representative of the Anglican Church, Taoist representative, Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak representative, Ex-Army Association Kapit branch chairman Wilfred Billy Panyau and community leaders. Descendants of the deceased also attended the ceremony.
One of the graves belonged to Janar De Rozario, a Portuguese who died on Dec 29, 1883 and his daughter Florence Louisa Rozario who was born on June 26, 1872 and died on January 26, 1873. Father and daughter were buried in the same grave.
Six-month-old Iban boy Michael Anak Enjop, the fourth child of Sarawak administrative officer the late Austin Enjop Jarraw who served at Kapit District Office from 1954 to 1978 was also buried there.
Two sisters Remit Binti Salleh who died in 1870 and Lemi Binti Salleh who died in 1872 were also buried there. They were of the Tanjong tribe. Lemi was married to the first Kapit district officer, F. Domingo De Rozario, who was a Portuguese.
Remit and Lemi were buried side by side. Another grave belonged to a Chinese man identified as Lau Ah Kui. However, one grave could not be identified.