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Reflections on a massacre : 100 years of Jallianwala Bagh
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

On the occasion of the centenary of the horrific Jallianwala Bagh massacre, there was some expectation of a British apology & British Prime Minister Theresa May finally said that they deeply regret for what happened & the suffering caused. The demand this time came not only from Indians but also from British MPs across political parties.

On April 13, 1919, Baisakhi day, in Jallianwala Bagh, a peaceful public meeting of 15,000-20,000 was being held & suddenly Brigadier General (temporary rank) Reginald Dyer took a strike force of around 50 rifles & 40 khukri-wielding Gurkhas into an enclosed ground. Without any warning, he immediately ordered fire to be opened on the crowd. Several hundred left dead & many people were wounded.

After Indians demanding investigation over the massacre, a Disorders Inquiry Committee, by the name of its Chairman, Lord Hunter, was set up. But no action was taken against Dyer & he was asked to resign his command, after which he left for England.

Though British Prime Minister might have stated deep regret for the act which was committed but the fact remains that there are many ways to heal a festering wound between nations. We are also being advised to forgive & move on. But as Canada has also apologised for the Komagata Maru incident, clever drafting is not one of them.