The British government has refused to tender official apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre as it believe sending wrong precedents along with financial implications. The UK government had earlier said on February 20 that it was "reflecting" on demands for a formal apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre during the British Raj.
The British Prime Minister Theresa May in the Parliament has described the massacre in Amritsar as a “shameful scar” on the British Indian history, but she refrained from apologising over the incident.
“We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused,” May told the British Parliament, as India prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the killings. However, she merely reiterated the stand her predecessors had taken on the issue, including the monarchy.
Earlier during a debate on ‘Jallianwala Bagh massacre’ called by Conservative MP Bob Blackman in the House of Commons, the UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Field made it clear at the outset that he could not make an official apology on the behest of the government.
Historical records note on April 13, 1919 General Dyer had fired on a Baisakhi gathering without warning and continued to fire for 10 minutes even as the people were trying to escape. He blocked the main exit with his soldiers and armoured vehicles. Many of those gathered jumped into a well, in order to escape the firing and over 100 bodies were recovered from the well alone. Although the death toll figure is highly disputed, historical records claim that 379 were killed with over 1,100 injured.
One hundred years after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the British government has once again sidestepped India’s call for an official apology, saying the matter is “works in progress” among its ministers.
The massacre is described as one of the bloodiest episodes of modern world history.