By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 13, Apr 2020, 19:31 pm IST | UPDATED: 13, Apr 2020, 19:31 pm IST
On April 13, 1919, the British troops open fired for 10 minutes straight on people (unarmed civilians) who had gathered at Jallianwalla Bagh to celebrate Baishaki and peacefully protest the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. Under the orders of Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the British Indian Army shot 1650 rounds of bullets injuring over 1000 people and killing over 400. Earlier that day General Dyer convinced a major insurrection could take place, banned all meetings. This notice was not widely disseminated and of course, many villagers had gathered at the Bagh to celebrate and protest together.
The horrifying incident was embedded in people’s memories as it was this event that led to the Non-Cooperation Movement and agitation against the British fueled up. Many writers and poets wrote about this incident and it led to political literature that was directly linked to this massacre. For example:
Jallianwala Bagh by Muhammad Iqbal:
The dust of this garden tells everyone who comes visiting
To not remain unmindful of the moving of the firmament
Its dignity has been nourished with the blood of martyrs
Do not expect tears from this tender sapling
General Dyer remained unrepentant and was celebrated by most of England for the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. England hasn’t made a formal apology for this massacre, even now. In 2019, the then Prime Minister of UK Theresa May had said that the shooting was ‘shameful scar’ but did not issue an apology. The Jallianwalla Bagh has been turned into a memorial. But due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the memorial has been shut and renovation has been delayed until June 15.