Jallianwala Bagh massacre centenary: PM Modi pays tributes

Nellie Chapman
April 14, 2019

On April 13, 1999, around 15,000 to 20,000 people had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in the northern part of Amritsar city on the occasion of Baishakhi.

"Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" star Bhumi urged people to "always remember the courage and sacrifice of our freedom fighters" and to get inspired by their "valour and contribution into making our country stronger".

The UK has made no official apology and Dominic Asquith, the high commissioner to India, on Saturday followed suit as he laid a wreath at the massacre site on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today weighed in on the debate over the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre by the British, which has been raging between the Congress and the BJP in Punjab. However, the Daily Mail reported that when David Cameron was the British Prime Minister, he expressed regret for the incident.

PM Modi accused the Congress of insulting the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs by boycotting the official function organised by the Government of India on Saturday. India's main opposition Congress party president Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh visited the memorial at Jallianwala Bagh and paid homage to those killed in the massacre.

"You might want to rewrite history, as the Queen said, but you can't", Asquith said.

On Wednesday, May told the British parliament that "the tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 is a shameful scar on British Indian history", but she did not issue a formal apology. "We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused", Mrs May said.

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Yesterday, Amarinder Singh's tweet that the United Kingdom government issue and "unequivocal apology" for the massacre a hundred years ago, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the Congress should apologise for the Operation Bluestar - the a military crackdown on Sikh terrorists who were carrying on the Khalistan movement.

Demands by several past Indian leaders and politicians for Britain to apologise for the massacre have fallen on deaf ears.

Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer arrived with dozens of troops, sealed off the exit and without warning ordered the soldiers to open fire.

Many tried to escape by scaling the high walls surrounding the area.

It was later stated that 1,650 bullets had been fired (derived by counting empty cartridge cases picked up by the troops).

"I, with eight or nine others, had to search for about half an hour till I could pick up his corpse as it was mixed up with hundreds of dead bodies lying in heaps there". "A number of them were poor innocent children", one witness later recalled.

Dyer said later that the firing was "not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians for disobedience".

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