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Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: A look back at the horrific tragedy after 104 years

BySnehashish Roy
Apr 13, 2023 10:13 AM IST

The massacre is a sobering reminder of the brutalities under the British colonial rule, which completes 104 years in 2023.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is one of the tragic and darkest events in the Indian history that led to the killing of several unarmed Indians and injuring many more. British military officer General Dyer on April 13, 1919, ordered his troops to open fire at an unarmed crowd that gathered in an open area near the Golden Temple in Punjab's Amritsar to stage peaceful protest against the arrest of nationalist leaders Saifuddin Kitchlew and Satyapal.

Amritsar: The Jallianwala Bagh during a visit by President Droupadi Murmu, in Amritsar, Thursday, March 9, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI03_09_2023_000249B)(PTI)
Amritsar: The Jallianwala Bagh during a visit by President Droupadi Murmu, in Amritsar, Thursday, March 9, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI03_09_2023_000249B)(PTI)

Also read: President Murmu pays obeisance at Golden Temple, tributes to victims of Jallianwala Bagh massacre

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Remembering the Jallianwala Bagh massacre after 104 years

The massacre is a sobering reminder of the brutalities under the British colonial rule, which completes 104 years in 2023. The tragic event turned out to be a turning point in the freedom struggle for India's independence, intensifying the nation's demand for self-governance and freedom.

The massacre was a result of the draconian Rowlatt Act which allowed the British colonial government to arrest anyone without trial who were suspected of sedition. Kitchlew and Satyapal were arrested under this law.

This led to widespread protest across India, especially in Punjab. Protestors gathered in numbers in Jallianwala Bagh and there were people of all age groups, men, women and children.

Till their ammunition exhausted

The protest was considered as a threat to the British colonial government and General Reginald Dyer, officer in-charge of Amritsar region, took it upon himself to take strict action against it. He entered the gathering with his troop and without much of warning to disperse the crowd, General Dyer ordered an open fire at them. Around 1,650 rounds were fired, killing over 500 people and more than 1,500 injured. The onslaught was carried out for over 10 minutes till their ammunition was exhausted.

Also read: Rectify errors in Jallianwala Bagh renovation: Manish Tewari

Significance of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre

  1. The incident sparked widespread outrage in India and abroad, which eventually fueled India's call for independence and even moderate nationalists started adopting more radical stance in their demand.
  2. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his titles awarded to him , including his knighthood, as a sign of protest against the British colonial government.
  3. Freedom fighter Udham Singh, who was among those who were injured in the massacre, assasinated Michael O'Dwyer, the then lieutenant-governor of Punjab and belligerent apologist for Reginald Dyer, as his retaliation.
  4. Indian government set up the Hunter commission to probe into the incidents and unrest in Punjab following the massacre.
  5. A museum has been built in the area in 2019 in remembrance of those who lost their lives and place an authentic account of the incident.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Snehashish is a content producer at Hindustan Times. A driven journalist with hands-on experience in print, digital and broadcast. A Jadavpur University alumnus who believes everything is come-at-able.

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