Jallianwala Bagh massacre: Rahul visits memorial, salutes people of India

Mahatma Gandhi

Asquith also added that the Queen (Elizabeth II) had spoken of the incident as a distressing example of Britain's past history with India.

He pointed out that former British prime minister David Cameron, during his visit to India earlier, had expressed regret and termed the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy a "deeply shameful scar".

As India commemorates the 100th anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians by British forces at the Jallianwala Bagh, members of the film industry, including Amitabh Bachchan, Sunny Deol, Bhumi Pednekar and Madhur Bhandarkar, paid tributes to the martyrs.

"The event of Jallianwala Bagh 100 years ago today reflects a shameful act in British-India history".

"Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" star Bhumi urged people to "always remember the courage and sacrifice of our freedom fighters" and to get inspired by their "valour and contribution into making our country stronger". Congress President Rahul Gandhi visited the memorial and wrote in the visitors' book: "The cost of freedom must never ever be forgotten".

"Today we remember with deep sorrow those who were killed on 13 April 1919 and regret the suffering caused", read a tweet on its official page. He described the episode as "deeply shameful" but stopped short of a public apology.

Gandhi was accompanied by some Congress leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

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Amritsar's Jallianwala Bagh was a desolate piece of land partly used for dumping garbage.

The 13th of April was also a big spring festival, and the crowd - estimated by some at 20,000 - included pilgrims visiting the nearby Golden Temple sacred to Sikhs.

The number of casualties is unclear, with colonial-era records showing about 400 deaths, while Indian figures put the number at closer to 1,000.

Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer arrived with dozens of troops, sealed off the exit and without warning ordered the soldiers to open fire. Many tried to escape by scaling the walls but failed.

It was later stated that 1,650 bullets had been fired (derived by counting empty cartridge cases picked up by the troops).

Dyer said later that the firing was "not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians for disobedience". And the calls for an apology continue.

The event marked a nadir in Britain's occupation of India, and served to boost Indian nationalism and harden support for independence.

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