British Govt. must apologise for Jallianwala Bagh massacre: London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2017

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called on the British government on Wednesday to make a formal apology for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in which almost 400 Sikhs were shot dead by British Indian army soldiers. "We all know the history here in 1919. Some people use the word 'massacre, '" Khan told the media after visiting the Jallianwala Bagh complex. "Although our two great countries now have a close relationship in business, culture, education and more, an apology from the British Government will go a long way in healing the wounds left by this very bad event".

Writing in the memorial's visitors' book on Wednesday, Mr Khan said it had been "incredibly moving" to see the site of the mass shooting, calling it a tragedy that should never be forgotten. Hundreds were killed by British soldiers in the 1919 atrocity.

Colonial-era records show about 400 people died when soldiers opened fire on men, women and children in the enclosed area, but Indian figures put the toll at closer to 1,000. "It is time for the British government to finally apologise", he wrote. The victims had no place to escape as the only narrow entrance was blocked by the troops.

David Cameron was the first British prime minister to visit a memorial for the Amritsar massacre in the northern state of Punjab in February 2013.

In October, Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose grandparents were born in India and parents migrated from Pakistan to United Kingdom, said he would visit India and Pakistan to promote the British capital as a destination of choice for trade and cultural ties.

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

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh welcomed his suggestion.

He also partook the langar at the Golden Temple.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) gave Mr Khan a "siropa" (robe of honour) during the visit. Khan, who was on a 3-city tour of India, visiting Mumbai, New Delhi and Amritsar, later crossed over to Pakistan from the Attari-Wagah land border, about 30 km from here. The London Mayor is now on a visit to India.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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