To seek justice for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, United Kingdom’s senior most and prolific Indian-origin MP Virendra Sharma has tabled a parliamentary motion in the House of Commons calling England’s Prime Minister Theresa May to apologize for this brutal act committed at Amritsar during British Raj in 1919.
Virendra Sharma, Labour Party MP for Ealing Southall, has tabled the Early Day Motion (EDM) titled ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919’ last week and so far about five MPs have put their signatures on the motion.
Pointedly, EDMs are formal motions tabled in the House of Commons as a means of drawing attention to a particular issue or cause.
Tabling the motion, Virendra Sharma said, “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.”
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was one of the most poignant moment of the Indian Freedom struggle which alarmed the conscience of the nation. It took place in Amritsar on the occasion of Baisakhi in April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Dyer fired machine guns at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration. It claimed thousands of lives and injured thousands others.
Through the EDM, House of Commons has been urged to recognise the importance of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre as a turning point in the history of the British Empire in India. It also notes that as the centenary of the event is approaching, it is appropriate to commemorate it.
It is also mention worthy that former British Prime Minister David Cameron referred to the massacre as a ‘deeply shameful act’ during his visit to India.
The EDM also urges 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’.