Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
- Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was an incident on April 13, 1919, in which British troops fired on a large crowd of unarmed Indians in an open space known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in Punjab.
- The Massacre was also called the Massacre of Amritsar.
- A large but peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh to protest against the arrest of pro-Indian independence leaders Dr Saifuddin Kitchlu and Dr Satya Pal.
- Dr Saifuddin Kitchlu and Dr Satya Pal opposed the passing of the Rowlat Act in early 1919, which essentially extended the repressive wartime measures.
- In response to the public gathering at Bagh, the British Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the Bagh with his soldiers.
- After blocking the exit with his troops, he ordered them to shoot at the crowd, continuing to fire even as protestors tried to flee.
- The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings.
- At least 1000 people were killed and over 1,200 other people were injured.
- The ineffective inquiry by the Disorders Inquiry Committee (also known as Hunters Commission) together with the initial praise for Dyer, fuelled great widespread anger against the British among the Indian populace, leading to the Non-cooperation movement of 1920–22.
- Britain never formally apologised for the massacre but expressed “regret” in 2019.
What are the Effects of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre?
- The perpetrator of the massacre, General Dyer, was honoured and rewarded by the British public and this removed all illusions about benign British rule in the country.
- The brutality of the massacre stunned the entire nation.
- Mahatma Gandhi gave up the title of Kaiser-i-Hind, bestowed by the British for his work during the Boer War.
- Rabindranath Tagore, the poet and Nobel laureate, returned his knighthood in protest.
- Winston Churchill condemned the shooting as “monstrous.”
- The Hunter commission committee was formed by the government of India on October 14, 1919, to inquire about the events in Punjab.
- The purpose of the commission was to investigate the disturbances in Punjab, find the cause and bring measures to cope with the effects
- According to the report submitted by the commission, the action of General Dyer was strongly condemned but no action was taken against him.
- The Jallianwala Bagh massacre marked the beginning of the resistance against the exceptional laws of colonial governance.
- 13 April 2023:
- India pays tributes to those martyred in Jallianwala Bagh on this day (April 13) in 1919.