India marks colonial massacre centenary, Britain makes no apology

Lamar Ellis
April 16, 2019

The Amritsar massacre, 100 years ago this Saturday in which British troops opened fire on thousands of unarmed protestors, remains one of the darkest hours of British colonial rule in India.

Hitting out at Punjab CM Amarinder Singh for skipping Saturday's event to pay respect to those killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre 100 years ago, Modi on Sunday had said, "Congress CM (of Punjab) was absconding from the function. We will never forget what happened here". "Their memory inspires us to work even harder to build an India they would be proud of", Modi said.

Gandhi, accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, visited the Golden Temple on late on Friday night, soon after his arrival in Amritsar to mark the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. "He boycotted the official function as he was busy showing his loyalty towards his party and the Gandhi family", Modi had said, adding, "I know Captain Amrinder Singh since long and I have never raised questions over his nationalism".

During this, in his note written in the Visitor's Diary, the incident of Jallianwala Bagh was termed as the most "shameful event in British India history".

The British diplomat's tribute came just days after his country's prime minister, Theresa May, expressed deep regrets on the massacre. "I am pleased today that the United Kingdom and India have and remain committed to developing further a thriving 21st-century partnership".

May, however, stopped short of offering a formal apology.

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Condemning the prime minister for trying to mislead the people with this politically motivated falsehoods, Amarinder said it was Modi who had insulted the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh, first by not being present at any of the commemorative events and then by choosing to politicise the occasion.

Saturday marked the centenary of the bloodbath in Jallianwala Bagh when British forces led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on unarmed, innocent Indians, including women and children, who had gathered there to hold a peaceful protest against the oppressive Rowlatt Act of the British government. "You might want to rewrite history, but you can't", he said.

Asquith also added that the Queen had spoken of the incident as a distressing example of Britain's past history with India. Former prime minister Herbert Asquith called it "one of the worst outrages in the whole of our history".

Indians have repeated their calls for an apology for a massacre but100 years on, Britain is yet to make an official apology.

"It would have been most gratifying had the Indian govt. succeeded in extracting an apology from the British for this gruesome massacre", she wrote on Twitter. "This was truly shocking considering the fact that the Prime Minister was Chairman of the Jallianwala Bagh Trust", he said in a statement here.

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