Jallianwala Bagh massacre 98th anniversary: Indians continue protests, demand apology from Britain

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was one of the saddest events that happened during the British rule in India.

Jallianwala Bagh
By Pmsarangi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Jallianwala Bagh shooting, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 and it has been 98 years since the dreadful day. Though the Britishers have left India long time back but the injustice and torture that they inflicted are still fresh in the hearts of many from the Asian nation. A group of citizens, today, in Navi Mumbai, which is in the Western State of Maharastra, are going to 'drop dead' at a public demonstration at Nerul to remind people of the heinous crime committed by the foreign rulers, reported Times of India.

"The main objective of holding the Jallianwala Bagh demonstration here is to firmly remind the UK authorities that they must properly apologize for the massacre. Many of the participants are also writing letters and posting online tweets to the British authorities like prime minister Theresa May and the members of the royalty,'' said Jaspal Naol of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Foundation, reported the news website.


The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was one of the disturbing events that happened during the British rule in India. On 13 April 1919, hundreds of civilians had assembled to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations, a religious and cultural festival of Punjabi people, in the Jallianwalla Bagh, which is a public garden of 6 to 7 acres with walls on all sides and five entrances. Unfortunately, these people, who came mainly from outside the city, were unaware of the martial law that was imposed - ban on all forms of meetings.

Meanwhile, the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer moved in with his troops and started firing at the revellers. Moreover, he directed his soldiers to direct their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to flee.

According to British statement only 379 had died and 1,200 were wounded but in reality more than thousand were killed and numerable people were wounded. While Indians were stunned by unexpected cruel act, general Dyre became a celebrated hero in Britain.

What Indians want now?

Indians are pointing out to the fact that England is yet to issue an apology for the incident.

Moreover, in 1997 Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, during a ceremonial visit to Jallianwala Bagh, they only signed the visitors' book and left without giving any statement. According to Congress MP and author Shashi Tharoor, Jalianwala Bagh centenary in 2019 will be a "good time" for the British to apologise to the Indians for the crime.

"Either the British Prime Minister or a member of the royal family can come and convey their own profound apologies to the people of India, not just for that atrocity (Jallianwala Bagh massacre) but for all wrongs done during the empire," said the former diplomat, while speaking on his book 'An Era of Darkness: The British Empire In India' at the Kolkata Literary Festival-2017, reported Hindustan Times.

"Why not use that opportunity ? ... that would be a very fine gesture because after all the wrongs were done in the name of the Crown," he added.

Tharoor gave the example of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who led Canada's apology for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident. However, it is not only the Canadian prime minister who did not shy away from apologising for the injustice his country did, Japan also apologised to South Korea for forcing thousands of Korean women into sexual slavery during the World War II.