In Amritsar, London Mayor says time for British to apologise for Jallianwala


Moved by the tragedy that took place 98 years ago, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said December 6 the British government should apologize for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, which left hundreds dead. His grandparents migrated from India to Pakistan, and his parents moved to London in the 1906s, where he was born.

Former Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron had written in the visitors" book during a visit to Jallianwala Bagh in February 2013: "This was a shameful act in British history, one that Winston Churchill described at that time as "monstrous'".

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre counts among the most horrific events of the Indian freedom struggle.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, "The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one of the most horrific events in Indian history". On April 13, 1919, more than 1,000 people were killed and over 1,100 wounded when Brigadier General REH Dyer ordered 50 riflemen to shoot on peaceful protestors assembled at Amritsar's Jallianwala Bagh on the festival of Baisakhi. No similar apology came for the 1943 Bengal starvation in which more than four million people perished or the ghastly Jallianwala massacre.

Talking to media after paying respects at Jallianwala Bagh memorial and garden, he made it clear that nearly 100 years after the terrible event, the British government should formally apologise for it.

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He said: "I have seen the well myself where people fell and died".

On Dec. 5 evening, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and others met Khan at a dinner hosted for him. About Khan's statement, he said: "I am very happy to hear it...." It is wrong that successive British governments have fallen short of delivering a formal apology to the families of those who were killed.

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

Mr Khan was also presented with a Siropa (robe of honour) by the officials of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). "The Golden Temple is a spiritual home for tens of thousands of Londoners of the Sikh faith and millions of Sikhs around the world come to Amritsar to pay their respects to worship", he said while talking to the reporters.

His visit was part of his first official tour to three Indian cities and three Pakistan cities-Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad-to promote the British capital's resilience and strengths post-Brexit.