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Millennium Post

100 years on... Jallianwala Bagh still bleeds

Amritsar/ New Delhi: India on Saturday remembered the Jallianwala Bagh massacre victims with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi paying tribute to those killed in the Amritsar tragedy 100 years ago. The massacre took place at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, during the Baisakhi festival on April 13, 1919, when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer opened fire at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration, leaving several dead and injured.

"History is not a mere chronicle of events. It shows us the depths to which depraved minds can plunge and cautions us to learn from the past. It also tells us that the power of evil is transient," said Naidu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the memory of those killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre serves as an inspiration to work for an India they would be proud of.

"Today, when we observe 100 years of the horrific Jallianwala Bagh massacre, India pays tributes to all those martyred ... Their valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Their memory inspires us to work even harder to build an India they would be proud of," he tweeted.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi paid floral tributes at the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial and said the cost of freedom must never be forgotten. He was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and some other Congress leaders.

They also observed a two-minute silence to remember those who were massacred in the tragic incident on April 13, 1919. "The cost of freedom must never ever be forgotten. We salute the people of India who gave everything they had for it," the Congress chief wrote in the visitors' book.

British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith also visited the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial separately and laid a wreath there. In the visitors' book, Asquith wrote, "The events of Jallianwala Bagh 100 years ago today reflect a shameful act in British Indian history. We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused."

He also wrote, "I am pleased today that the UK and India have and remain committed to developing further a thriving 21st century partnership." In his brief interaction with reporters later, Asquith noted British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday described the Jallianwala Bagh massacre as a "shameful scar" on British Indian history. May, however, had stopped short of offering a formal apology.

Asked why an apology was not tendered by the British government, Asquith said, "I know this is a really important question. I would just ask you to respect what I came here to do, which is to commemorate those who died a hundred years ago and to express the sorrow of the British government and of the British people."

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