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London Mayor says United Kingdom must apologise for Jallianwala massacre

08 December 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan places a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar on December 6.

London's first Asian-origin mayor Sadiq Khan said the British government should apologize for a colonial-era massacre in India as he visited the site on Wednesday.

During his trip to Amritsar, he reminisced the brutal massacre of Jallianwala Bagh where hundreds of innocent lives were taken on the hands of Britishers. "I'm calling on the British Government to make a full and formal apology to the people of Amritsar and India for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre".

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The British Government has never extended a formal apology for the massacre, which killed hundreds of people and injured many more.

Over the years, several MPs and politicians of Indian and South Asian-origin have asked the United Kingdom government to offer an apology to the Indian people but members of the royal family and British premiers have never gone that far during their visits to India. "Our thoughts are with all those who died", Khan wrote in the visitor's book after paying floral tributes at the memorial.

Khan toured the Jallianwala Bagh complex and saw the Martyr's Well and bullet marks along the walls. On Sunday 13 April 1919, during the celebration of Vaisakhi, 50 British Indian Army soldiers, commanded by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, began shooting at an unarmed gathering of civilians, who were taking part in a peaceful protest.

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Former British PM David Cameroon visited Jallianwala Bagh in February 2013 and offered regrets over the killings, stopping short of a formal apology. He also visited the Langar hall, the largest community kitchen in the world, in the shrine complex and partook "langar" sitting on the floor.

India has been for decades demanding an apology for what is one of the bloodiest massacres in British history.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gave Khan a "siropa" (robe of honour) during the visit.

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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hosted a dinner for the mayor on Tuesday where Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and others met Khan while appreciating his initiative "London Is Open". On Thursday he is in Islamabad and is scheduled to visit Karachi before he returns to London.

London Mayor says United Kingdom must apologise for Jallianwala massacre