The British government should apologise for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Wednesday, calling it a tragedy one “must never forget”.
Khan, whose grandparents were born in India and parents migrated from Pakistan to the UK, arrived in Amritsar yesterday. He paid a rich tribute to those who died in the Jallianwala Bagh incident.
“It was incredibly moving to visit Jallianwala Bagh. Our thoughts are with all those who died.”
“It is time for the British government to finally apologise. The tragedy in 1919 on the eve of Vaisakhi is one we must never forget,” Khan wrote in the visitors’ book at the Jallianwala Bagh here.
The massacre took place on April 13, 1919 when British troops commanded by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, opened fire at a crowd of unarmed people, on the harvest festival of Baisakhi.
A large number of people were killed in the incident.
“It was important for me also to come to the Jallianwala Bagh. We all know the history here,” Khan said during a media interaction.
“My view is that British Government should apologise for the Jallianwala Bagh shooting. Some people used the word massacre,” the Mayor said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed his suggestion.
The chief minister said he heard Khan’s remarks on the Jallianwala incident and was happy to know about his feelings on the matter.
“The suggestion, coming from a British government functionary, was good and, if implemented, would go a long way in strengthening ties between India and UK, and perhaps, to some extent, assuaging the wounds of Indians who suffered the pain of the independence struggle,” he said.
Wrapping up his first official tour to India, the London Mayor, earlier today, also paid obeisance at the holy shrine of Golden Temple.
During his visit, he participated in ‘langar’ at the Golden Temple complex and showed keen interest in knowing how the food is prepared.
Khan was also presented with a ‘Siropa’ (robe of honour) by the officials of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
“It has been a privilege for me to be in Amritsar for the last 24 hours. 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.
Also, sharing the same sentiments on the visitors’ book of the Golden Temple, he wrote: ” The warmth, hospitality, spirituality are a lesson to us all. Thank you for providing me with memories that will stay with me forever”.
Khan, who was on a three-city tour to India, visited New Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar to strengthen the UK’s capital trade ties with India.