103 years of Jallianwala Bagh massacre

103 years ago, on 13th April 1919, the horrific Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place. To date, it is one of the country’s darkest days in history. On this day, General Reginald Dyer of the British Empire ordered his troops to fire upon the people who were protesting peacefully at Jallianwala Bagh. The firing by the troops killed around 379 people and the entire nation was shocked due to this incident.

Background

Thousands of people had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate Baisakhi and to protest peacefully against the arrest of two leaders, Saifuddin Kitchlew, and Satyapal. But at that time processions and public meetings were banned in India and the villagers were unaware of it. Dyer entered the venue with his troops and blocked the only entrance. Then he passed the order of shooting at the unarmed civilians. After the incident, Dyer stated that his act was not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians who were present at the venue for disobedience. According to the official figures provided by the British government, 379 people were killed with thousands severely injured. But, as per the Congress, more than 1,000 Indians lost their lives that day.

The aftermath of the incident

Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore condemned this unjust attack on the peaceful protestors and renounced their Kaiser-i-Hind medal and British Knighthood respectively. There were protests across the country against the incident. The actions of Dyer were criticized by many including former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. After this incident, the Hunter commission was set up to investigate the incident, and Dyer was removed from duty after the commission submitted its report. Dyer passed away on 23rd July 1927 due to a cerebral haemorrhage. This incident is referred to by some historians as the beginning of the end of British rule in India. Till now Britain has never formally apologised for the massacre but in 2019 they expressed “deep regret.”

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