Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

London Mayor Calls for UK Apology Over Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

London Mayor Calls for UK Apology Over Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Sadiq Khan, the first Asian-origin mayor of London, on Wednesday called on the United Kingdom government to formally apologise for the April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre by British Indian Army soldiers. The tragedy in 1919 on Baisakhi is one we must never forget.

Almost 100 years later, it remains a controversial subject as many British dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip, and former prime minister David Cameron, have visited Jallianwala Bagh to pay their respects.

The Punjab chief minister said he heard Khan's remarks on the Jallianwala incident and was happy to know about his feelings on the matter. "The British Government rightly condemned the events at the time".

Hundreds of innocent Indians, including women, children and old people, were shot dead by the British troops led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer on April 13, 1919.

"My view is that British government should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh shooting". Colonial era records had put the death toll at around 400, while leaders of India's freedom movement had put it at over 1,000.

Former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron visited Amritsar at the end of a trade mission to India four years ago in a show of contrition over the massacre but stopped short of making a formal apology.

Though British monarch Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip visited Jallianwala Bagh in October 1997, they did not offer an apology for the massacre.

Earlier in the day he visited the Golden Temple, the most revered place for the Sikh religion, where he covered his head with a white cloth and sat cross-legged on the floor to eat at the community kitchen.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gave Khan a "siropa" (robe of honour) during the visit.

The Labour politician also visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism. Khan, who was on a 3-city tour of India, visiting Mumbai, New Delhi and Amritsar, later crossed over to Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah land border, about 30 km from here. On Thursday he is in Islamabad and is scheduled to visit Karachi before he returns to London.

Like this: