New Delhi/Amritsar: April 13: As the nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians by British forces at the Jallianwala Bagh, President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday paid tributes to the martyrs.
“A 100 years ago today, our beloved freedom fighters were martyred at Jallianwala Bagh. A horrific massacre, a stain on civilisation, that day of sacrifice can never be forgotten by India,” Kovind tweeted.
“India pays tributes to all those martyred on that fateful day. 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,” Modi said.
Gandhi along with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were joined by people in large numbers who gathered at the national memorial in Amritsar to pay homage to hundreds of men and woman who were gunned down by British troops on April 13, 1919.
On Friday, hundreds of people, including students, residents and visitors held a candlelight vigil in Amritsar.
Saturday marked the 100th anniversary of the bloodbath, when British forces led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on unarmed, innocent Indians, including children, who were present at a gathering protesting peacefully against the oppressive Rowlatt Act of the British government.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one of the darkest chapters of India’s freedom struggle against the British occupation. The official death toll by the British government was put at 379.
The British government, even after 100 years, has only regretted the massacre but stopped short of apologising for the killing of so many innocent people.
Rejecting the regret expressed by British Prime Minister Theresa May as “inadequate”, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday demanded “an unequivocal official apology from Britain”.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will arrive here later for the main function commemorating the massacre.
Gandhi arrived here late on Friday and visited the Golden Temple and offered prayers at the Akal Takht.
The sanctum sanctorum of ‘Harmandir Sahib’ was closed for the night when the Congress chief arrived. (IANS)