The UK should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, says Lord Singh
By Barfi Culture Team
19th November 2018

The first turbaned Sikh in the House of Lords, Lord Indarjit Singh, has called for the UK to make "an unequivocal apology" for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The centenary anniversary of the massacre is coming up next year.

On 13th April 1919, the day of the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi, British troops led by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer fired on a peaceful gathering at the park in Amritsar.

The area was largely enclosed and several hundred people were killed in cold blood. Some say the dead numbered a thousand. More than 1,200 were injured. The massacre continues to evoke strong emotions in Punjab.

On 13th March 1940, Shaheed Udham Singh, an independence activist who had been wounded at the massacre, shot and killed Michael O'Dwyer, who had approved Dyer's actions.

In 2013, David Cameron became the first PM to visit the memorial but did not offer a full apology. Instead he called it a “deeply shameful event in British history”.

'An apology'

Last week, Lord Ahmad asked how else the government was going to commemorate the contribution of South Asian soldiers to the first World War.

During the debate, Lord Singh called for an unconditional apology. "My Lords, undivided Punjab played a substantial part in the greatest volunteer army in history," he said.

"One of the reasons that was done was because people were promised a substantial measure of independence following the end of the war."

He added: "Instead, there was fierce repression under the Rowlatt Act and, following that, in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of several hundred unarmed civilians. We British are justly known for our sense of fair play and justice. Given that, should we not now make an unequivocal apology to the people of the subcontinent?"

Support for such an apology has also been building up in the House of Commons too. Last year the Ealing-Southall MP Virendra Sharma tabled an Early Day Motion calling for an apology and a memorial day to remember the event. It has been signed by 43 MPs.

Picture from the Martyrs Well, where victims leapt to escape the bullets.
Taken by Adam Jones - CC by-SA 2.0,

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