Thursday, 13 April 2017

A Short Note on the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

On 13 April 1919, one of the saddest events in the Indian history took place – the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre. On April 13, the day of the Baisakhi festival, people had gathered in an open space known as the Jallianwalla Bagh, to participate in the annual celebrations. Coming from outside the city, they may have been unaware of the imposition of martial law in the city. Colonel Reginald Dyer of the British India Army was informed about the gathering and he went there with fifty soldiers. The Jallianwala Bagh was surrounded on all sides by houses and buildings and had few narrow entrances. Most of them were kept permanently locked. The main entrance was relatively wide, but was guarded heavily by the troops backed by the armoured vehicles. Dyer, without warning the crowd to disperse, blocked the main exits and ordered his troops to begin shooting towards the densest sections of the crowd. The firing continued for approximately ten minutes. Cease-fire was ordered only when ammunition supplies were almost exhausted, after approximately 1,650 rounds were spent. Many people died in stampedes at the narrow gates or by jumping into the solitary well on the compound to escape the shooting. The wounded could not be moved from where they had fallen, as a curfew was declared, and many more died during the night. A memorial was built for the innocent souls who departed on the unfortunate day and the memorial was inaugurated in 1961. The Jallianwalla Bagh site is now a national monument.