Saturday, 21 July, 2018

London Mayor calls for apology to people of Amritsar for Jallianwala Bagh

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan lays a wreath as he pays tribute to martyrs at Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar December 6. It is time that the Queen or the British prime minister tendered an unequivocal apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and owned up to London Mayor calls for apology to people of Amritsar for Jallianwala Bagh
Melinda Barton | 07 December, 2017, 18:03

Mr Khan made the statement on Tuesday on a visit to Jallianwala Bagh, the site of the massacre, in the north Indian state of Punjab. It is time for the British government to finally apologise. This is about properly acknowledging what happened here and giving the people of Amritsar and India the closure they need through a formal apology.

The British monarchy and the United Kingdom government have so far not issued a formal apology over Jallianwala Bagh. The memorial was inaugurated in 1961 and serves as a way to remember those who died and were injured in the massacre. "Our thoughts are with all those who died", Khan wrote in the visitor's book after paying floral tributes at the memorial.

The massacre took place on April 13, 1919, when British troops, commanded by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, opened fire at a crowd of unarmed people, on the harvest festival of Baisakhi.

He also paid tributes to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre before crossing over to Lahore.

All the exits were blocked by the troops and protesters had nowhere to escape. 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.

Khan, later December 6, visited the Golden Temple complex, where Harmandir Sahib, the holiest of Sikh shrines, is located and offered prayers.

British Prime Minister David Cameroon visited Jallianwala Bagh in February 2013 and expressed regret over the killings, stopping short of a formal apology.

The official Twitter handle of the London mayor later tweeted: "I'm calling on the British government to make a full and formal apology to the people of Amritsar and India for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre".

Mr Khan also visited the Langar hall, the largest community kitchen in the world, of the shrine complex and partook langar while sitting on the floor.

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

Mr Khan, who was on a three-city tour to India, visited New Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar to strengthen the UK's capital trade ties with India. On Thursday he is in Islamabad and is scheduled to visit Karachi before he returns to London.