Jallianwala Bagh massacre

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The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Acting Brig-Gen Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Punjabis who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. The civilians had assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew.

Quotes[edit]

  • It is no secret that there have been some difficult episodes in our past – Jallianwala Bagh, which I shall visit tomorrow, is a distressing example. But history cannot be rewritten, however much we might sometimes wish otherwise. It has its moments of sadness, as well as gladness. We must learn from the sadness and build on the gladness.
    • Queen Elizabeth II, 1997. Burns, John F. (15 October 1997). "In India, Queen Bows Her Head Over a Massacre in 1919". New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  • Though, by the logic of this tribe, the best promoters of India’s unity were the British. They did far more and succeeded to a much greater extent in imposing a unity on India. By that logic, General Dyer of the Jallianwala Bagh fame comes out with flying colours as the foremost builder of an Indian nation. He was also very ruthless in gunning down unarmed people who were not impressed by the “benefits of the British Raj”.
    • Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1986)
  • . Unaware of the law being imposed, approximately 6000–10,000 unarmed people had gathered on 13 April 1919 for a public meeting at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Soon after the meeting began, Dyer reached the spot without any warning to the attendees. He passed, with his infantry, through a narrow lane into Jallianwalla Bagh and at once deployed them to the right and left of the entrance in the Bagh’s square. The armoured cars remained outside the square and never came into action as the lane was too narrow for them to enter. The gates of the Bagh were shut and his troops stationed themselves on a raised ground. Without any warning, Dyer ordered indiscriminate firing on the mass of humanity that had gathered there. More than 1500 rounds were shot. Men, women, children and old people were caught in this firing and martyred. As per government records, nearly 379 were killed and more than 1200 wounded (the actual numbers were much more).
    • Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)
  • Dyer was anything but remorseful of this savagery and in fact boasted of his achievements and what he termed as a merciful act. He admitted that he could have dispersed them without firing but that would have been derogatory to his dignity as a defender of law and order. It was to maintain his self-respect, he claimed, that he decided to fire, leaving behind a trail of corpses. This brutality sent shock waves across India, more so at a time when the government was discussing administrative reforms and limited self-government. Ironically, Dyer was feted as a hero by the British. A fund created in his support by the Morning Post in London and another in Mussoorie in India collected a purse of £20,000.
    • Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)
  • Viceroy Lord Chelmsford’s response to this genocide was indicative of the government’s attitude: I have heard that Dyer administered Martial Law in Amritsar very reasonably and in no sense tyrannously. In these circumstances you will understand why it is that both the Commander-in-Chief and I feel very strongly that an error of judgment, transitory in its consequences, should not bring down upon him a penalty which would be out of all proportion to the offence and which must be balanced against the very notable services which he rendered at an extremely critical time.
    • Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)

External links[edit]

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