British envoy regrets 1919 colonial massacre of Indians

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Published by Penguin Viking, the book "Jallianwala Bagh" claims to provide an innovative and nuanced approach to the dramatic events in Amritsar and unearth untold narratives that shed new light upon the bloody history of the British empire.

"There are events in the histories of nations which are hard to forget and they hold a very emotionally charged space in a nation's memory", Navtej Sarna, a Sikh who has served as India's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, told Reuters. There is no question that we will always remember this.

British High Commissioner Dominic Asquith on Saturday expressed deep regret and sorrow over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, but remained non-committal on any apology coming from the British government on the brutal killings. Their valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

In 1997, Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath at the site but her gaffe-prone husband Prince Philip stole the headlines by reportedly saying that Indian estimates for the death count were "vastly exaggerated".

Earlier in the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh paid their homage to the martyrs at the National Memorial.

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"Today, when we look at the hundred years of the heinous Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the memory of the martyrs inspires us to work even more for India, which they will be proud of".

The British envoy to India said Saturday that his country regrets a massacre of hundreds of Indians by British colonial forces in the northwest city of Amritsar 100 years ago and "will continue to do so".

The 2019 edition of the British Sikh Report (BSR) reveals that 78 per cent of the community surveyed want a formal apology from the British state for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and 85 per cent seek its inclusion in Britain's school curriculum.

Thousands of unarmed men, women and children had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh, a walled public garden in Amritsar, on the afternoon of April 13, 1919. However, Indian officials say more than 1,500 injured, with approximately 1,000 dead. Many local people tried to escape by scaling the high walls surrounding the garden. Others jumped into an open well at the site as the troops fired. A number of them were poor innocent children. Dyer said the firing had been ordered "to punish the Indians for disobedience". May's statement was "perhaps qualitatively a notch stronger ... but is far from enough".

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