Amritsar – Forgotten History

It has been reported recently that the British may have played a role in the 1984 Amritsar attack1 and David Cameron has ordered an enquiry2.

However, few if any mention has been made in the press about an even more horrific attack at Amritsar in 19193.

15,000 – 20,000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs had gathered for a festival. The British blocked the exists and then fired into the thickest part of the crowd until their ammunition was exhausted. Luckily two armored vehicles with machine guns were unable to get through the gates or else the casualty figures would have been much greater. The British estimates were 379 dead and 1,100 wounded although other estimates are much higher.

The person in charge of the massacre – a Brigadier-Genera Dryer told an inquiry “was not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians for disobedience.”

In 1940 an Indian independence activist Udham Singh shot and killed Michael O’Dwyer, the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab at the time of the massacre. Even The Times newspaper reported this as “an expression of the pent-up fury of the down-trodden Indian People”.


 

1 Sikhs demand inquiry into claims of British role in 1984 Amritsar attack, theguardian.com, Monday 13 January 2014 (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/13/sikh-inquiry-british-1984-amritsar-india-golden-temple)

2 Cameron orders inquiry into claims of British role in 1984 Amritsar attack, The Guardian, Tuesday 14 January 2014 (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/14/david-cameron-inquiry-british-role-amritsar-attack-sas)

3 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Wikipeida (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre)

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