Jallianwala Bagh centenary- April 13th 2019

Today, exactly a hundred years ago, on April 13th 1919 marks the brutal massacre of ordinary unarmed men, women and children who had gathered for a peaceful protest in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab by British soldiers on the order of Colonel Dyer.

Colonel Dyer- “The Butcher of Amritsar”

Jallianwala Bagh as the name says is a garden in Amritsar, close to the Golden Temple, used for public celebrations and gatherings. Thousands of civilians gathered there on the occasion of Baisakhi, the Punjabi New Year and also protest the arrest of national leaders Satya Paul and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and the repressive Rowlatt Act. British soldiers arrived and there ensued the most brutal massacre of civilians in world history. On the orders of Colonel Reginald Dyer, the soldiers fired directly on totally unarmed Indian citizens,leading to death, chaos followed and the situation got worse as there was only one entry/exit where the machine gun was parked.

It was later stated that 1,650 bullets had been fired (derived by counting empty cartridge cases picked up by the troops). Official British Indian sources gave a figure of 379 identified dead, with approximately 1,200 wounded. The number estimated by the Indian National Congress was 1,000 dead and more than 1,500 injured.

Britain has still not given unconditional apology to India

After 100 years of this brutal violation, England has still not issued an unconditional apology. On April 10th, speaking in Parliament, British Premier Theresa May stopped short of an apology and said, “The tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh of 1919 is a shameful scar on British Indian history. As Her Majesty the Queen (Elizabeth II) said before visiting Jallianwala Bagh in 1997, it is a distressing example of our past history with India.”

This was only after 2 Kerala MPs, Shashi Tharoor and his colleague demanded that England should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The massacre also sounded the beginning of the end of colonial rule in India. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood after this incident and Indians recognized the nature of British rule.

The martyr’s well in Jallianwala Bagh