London: A senior Indian-origin MP in Britain has tabled a parliamentary motion seeking apology from Prime Minister Theresa May for the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre ordered by British commanders in 1919.
According to a PTI report, Virendra Sharma tabled his Early Day Motion (EDM) titled ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919’ earlier this week and has attracted five additional signatures from British MPs so far.
“This was an important moment in the history of Britain in India. Many suggest it was the beginning of the end, a moment that finally emboldened the Independence Movement. It must be commemorated, and the British government should make clear its repudiation of such a barbaric act,” said the Labour Party MP for Ealing Southall.
The massacre took place in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar during Baisakhi in April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Dyer fired machine guns at a crowd of unarmed people holding a pro-independence demonstration. While official figures of the British government put the death toll at 379, thousands had died in reality and thousand others were injured.
The EDM calls on the House of Commons to recognise the importance of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre as a turning point in the history of the British Empire in India.
The EDM notes that as the centenary of the event is approaching, it is appropriate to commemorate it.
It also recognises that former British Prime Minister David Cameron referred to the massacre as a “deeply shameful act” during a visit to India.
It urges the government to ensure that “British children are taught about this shameful period and that modern British values welcome the right to peaceful protest; and further urges the government formally to apologise in the House and inaugurate a memorial day to commemorate this event”.
EDMs are formal motions tabled in the House of Commons as a means of drawing attention to a particular issue or cause.