Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes for 1919 massacre in India

Elias Hubbard
September 11, 2019

The Archbishop added, "I wish to express shame and sorrow, for it is recognition of the frightful reality of what we, the British, did there and there were doubtless, believing Christians involved, in the British troops". "And prayer means I must also commit to actions that bridge divides of culture and religion - that together we can root out hatred and seek the common good".

In the visitors' book, Welby wrote, "It is deeply humbling and provokes feelings of profound shame to visit this place that witnessed such atrocities hundred years ago".

In a Facebook post, Welby said he could not speak on behalf of the British government but added that he was "personally very sorry for this bad atrocity".

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Tuesday concluded his India tour by a visit to Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar and said he was ashamed and sorry for the massacre that took place hundred years ago. "As a religious leader, I mourn the tragedy we see here", he added at the site, known in India as Jallianwala Bagh.

"I feel a deep sense of grief, humility and profound shame having visited the site of the horrific #JallianwalaBagh massacre in Amritsar today". After visiting the Bagh, he later wrote on his Facebook page, "I have no status to apologise on behalf of the United Kingdom, its government or its history". With a sizeable gathering present at the memorial, Archbishop Justin Welby also read out a prayer seeking God's forgiveness for the awful atrocity.

'It is one of a number of deep stains on British history.

On Sunday, Reverend Welby had said he would make a statement on "dreadful" massacre but insisted that it should not be "pre-empted". "The pain and grief that has transcended the generations since must never be dismissed or denied", Welby noted in his Facebook post after the visit.

In April, then British Prime Minister Theresa May called the killings a "shameful scar" in British-Indian history but stopped short of a formal apology. "Jallianwala Bagh is a classic example of the huge shame and damage done to our reputation and our history".

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place on 13 April, 1919, when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired machine guns into a crowd of unarmed protesters and pilgrims who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab's Amritsar on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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