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100 years of Jallianwala Bagh massacre: What happened on that fateful day

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 13 April 2019, 08:23 AM
On the afternoon of April 13, a crowd of at least 10,000 men, women, and children gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh
On the afternoon of April 13, a crowd of at least 10,000 men, women, and children gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh

Hundreds of people, including students, local residents, and even visitors, held a candlelight march in Amritsar on Friday evening on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by British Indian forces. The massacre that happened on April 13, 1919, barely after World War I ended in Europe. The massacre is one of the darkest chapters of India's freedom struggle to free the country from British occupation. Earlier, British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed "deep regret" over the massacre. "We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused," May said in the British Parliament and termed the tragedy as a "shameful scar on British Indian history". 

On the afternoon of April 13, a crowd of at least 10,000 men, women, and children gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh. Protesters who were defying the ban on public meetings. A force of several dozen troops commanded by Brig. Gen. Reginald Edward Harry  Dyer arrived and started firing indiscriminately until they ran out of ammunition.

According to one official report, 379 people were killed, and about 1,200 more were injured. Indian nationalist, Swami Shraddhanand wrote to Gandhi of 1500 deaths in the incident. The British Government tried to suppress information of the massacre, but news spread in India and widespread outrage ensued; details of the massacre did not become known in Britain until December 1919.

Two days later, on 15 April, demonstrations occurred in Gujranwala protesting the killings at Amritsar. Police and aircraft were used against the demonstrators, resulting in 12 deaths and 27 injuries.

Following the massacre, Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore renounced the knighthood that he had received in 1915.  In 1920, Dyer was ordered to resign from the military. The Jallianwala Bagh site in Amritsar is now a national monument.

In February 2013 David Cameron became the first serving British Prime Minister to visit the site, laid a wreath at the memorial, and described the Amritsar massacre as "a deeply shameful event in British history.

First Published: Saturday, April 13, 2019 08:23 AM
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