David Cameron visits 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre site to pay respects

India News Bulletin Desk
The Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar where UK PM Cameron visited
The Jallianwala Bagh Memorial in Amritsar where UK PM Cameron visited
Image: Wikimedia Commons

British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Amritsar at the Jallianwala Bagh massacre site – one of the bloodiest massacres of the British rule in India. Cameron paid respects to the peaceful Indian protesters that were shot on the orders of General Reginald Dyer on April 13, 1919.

Cameron’s visit to the Amritsar massacre site to pay respects makes him the first British prime minister since India’s independence to do so.

According to reports in India, Cameron wrote in the visitors’ book at the massacre site that it was a “shameful act in British history”

“We must never forget what happened here.” He added.

The April 13, 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place when Dyer ordered fire without warning on the 15,000 Indian protesters who gathered to demonstrate against the British rule. The shooting killed more than 1000 Indians according to the Indian officials then.

Cameron laid a wreath at the Amritsar massacre memorial, bowed and stood in silence to pay his respects.

Dyer’s orders and the killings were condemned by Winston Churchill in 1920 who described the act as "monstrous".

“We must ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests,” Cameron is quoted as saying by the Indian media.

The British Prime minister also visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest shrine for those following the Sikh religion such as the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Previously Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre but Cameron has become the first UK PM to visit the site in person to pay his respects.

Cameron is in India on a three-day state visit aiming to bolster trade, investment and bilateral relations. He wants to o forge one of the “great partnerships” of the 21st century with India, he said ahead of the visit.

During his three-day schedule, UK and India struck several trade and investment agreement, the UK launched a super priority visa service for frequent Indian visitors, the London School of Economics launched scholarships for Indian students and Cameron pledged full support for India’s investigation into Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland’s chopper contract. 

Read full coverage of David Cameron’s India visit:

Indian students are very welcome in the UK, says David Cameron
David Cameron’s three-day visit to India to boost ties begins today
David Cameron India visit: Many trade deals struck between UK and India
VVIP chopper saga: India set to cancel AgustaWestland helicopter contract
Manmohan Singh shares concerns about AgustaWestland contracts and seeks support from Cameron
Infosys is a great example of Indian investment in Britain: Cameron 
LSE offers 50 new scholarships for Indian post graduate students

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