British High Commissioner to India Sir Dominic Asquith has termed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre during the colonial rule in India ‘a shameful act in British-Indian history.’
Asquith, who visited the historical monument to mark the 100th anniversary of the massacre, wrote in the visitor’s diary, “The events of Jallianwala Bagh 100 years ago today reflects a shameful act in British-Indian history. We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused. I am pleased today that the UK and India have and remain committed to developing further a thriving 21st century partnership.”
The British diplomat’s tribute came just days after his country’s prime minister, Theresa May, expressed deep regrets on the massacre. “The tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh of 1919 is a shameful scar on British Indian history. As Her Majesty the Queen (Elizabeth II) said before visiting Jallianwala Bagh in 1997, it is a distressing example of our past history with India,” she had said in her statement.
“We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused. I am pleased that today the UK-India relationship is one of collaboration, partnership, prosperity and security. Indian diaspora make an enormous contribution to British society and I am sure the whole House wishes to see the UK’s relationship with India continue to flourish,” she added.
The opposition Labour Party, however, had demanded an unconditional apology for the shameful act committed the British general 100 years ago. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had said that the UK ought to express “full, clear and unequivocal apology for what took place.”
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that the regret by the British government was not enough. “The candles that were lit on Friday evening have rekindled memories of the sad day and would serve as a reminder of the sacrifice which has inspired patriotism and nationalism among generations of Indians,” he was quoted by news agency PTI.
Also attending today’s memorial in Amritsar was Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who laid a wreath at the site after praying at the Golden Temple on Friday night.