India observes 100th anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre

India today commemorated the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which hundreds of innocent men, women and children were killed when troops opened fire on unarmed protesters at a park in Amritsar, Punjab on April 13, 1919.

Although the horrific 100 years of the Amritsar massacre elapsed, the gruesome incident remains as one of the darkest hours of British colonial rule in India.

Known in India as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, it is still an emotive subject with many demanding a British apology — which so far has been unforthcoming.

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

In 1997 the Queen laid a wreath at a site during a tour of India. But her gaffe-prone husband Prince Philip stole the headlines by reportedly -saying that the Indian estimates for the death count were “vastly exaggerated”.

The number of casualties on April 13, 1919 is unclear, with colonial-era records showing about 400 deaths while Indian figures put the number at closer to 1,000.

Marking the observance of the centenary of the heinous massacre, Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu paid homage to martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial, in Amritsar, Punjab, according to official sources.

During the homage ceremony, he also released a Commemorative Coin and Commemorative Postage Stamp and visited an exhibition on Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi also paid tributes to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith paid homage to those killed in Jallianwala Bagh massacre by placing floral wreaths at Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar. Asquith termed the firing on a peaceful gathering by the British forces as a “shameful act”.

In 2013 David Cameron became the first serving British prime minister to visit Jallianwala Bagh. He described the episode as “deeply shameful” but stopped short of a public apology, media reports said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament that Britain “deeply regretted what happened and the suffering caused.” But she too didn’t say sorry.

As India commemorates the 100th anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians by British forces at the Jallianwala Bagh, members of the film industry, including Amitabh Bachchan, Sunny Deol, Bhumi Pednekar and Madhur Bhandarkar, paid tributes to the martyrs.

A century ago, British forces led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on hundreds of unarmed, innocent Indians, including women and children, who were protesting peacefully against the oppressive Rowlatt Act of the British government on April 13, 1919 at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. The massacre took place during the Baishakhi festival.


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