Deeply humbling provokes feeling of profound shame Canterbury Archbishop on Jallianwala Bagh visit – Garavi Gujarat

Deeply humbling provokes feeling of profound shame Canterbury Archbishop on Jallianwala Bagh visit - Garavi Gujarat

Justin Welby prostrates himself in apology for British massacre at Amritsar

Prostrating himself at the memorial to the Jallianwala Bagh killings, Justin Welby said: The souls of those who were killed or wounded, of the bereaved, cry out to us from these stones and warn us about power and the misuse of power.

I cannot speak for the British government … but I can speak in the name of Christ and say this is a place of both sin and redemption, because you have remembered what they have done and their names will live, their memory will live before God. And I am so ashamed and sorry for the impact of this crime committed here.

The action was ordered in 1919 by General Reginald Dyer in response to demonstrations against the arrest of two leaders, one Hindu and one Muslim. Determined to punish the Indians, Dyers troops blocked the narrow entrance to the garden and without warning fired 1,650 rounds into the crowd, aiming at the five exits to prevent anyone escaping. More than 1,000 people, including women and children,…

Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs were killed in April 1919 when they gathered in Amritsar, in Punjab, then part of British India. They were protesting peacefully after earlier riots over the arrest of pro-independence leaders.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed his profound regret and shame for the massacre of more than 400 unarmed Indian civilians by British Indian army troops a century ago.

Read more Under the orders of Brig Gen Reginald Dyer, an Anglican, British troops opened fire. According to official figures, 379 people were killed and about 1,200 wounded, though other estimates suggested much higher casualties.

Winston Churchill condemned the massacre in the House of Commons, saying it was an extraordinary event, a monstrous event, an event which stands in singular and sinister isolation.

In 2013, David Cameron became the first serving prime minister to visit the site of the killings, bowing his head in honour of the victims. The episode was deeply shameful and should never be forgotten, he said, but he stopped short of apologising.

This year Theresa May called the killings a shameful scar in British-Indian history but also stopped short of formally apologising.

Writing on Facebook during a trip to Sri Lanka and India, Welby said visiting the memorial had aroused a sense of profound shame at what happened in this place. It is one of a number of deep stains on British history.

He added: Learning of what happened, I recognise the sins of my British colonial history, the ideology that too often subjugated and dehumanised other races and cultures … We have a great responsibility to not just lament this horrific massacre but most importantly to learn from it in a way that changes our actions.

The massacre took place at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, when the British Indian Army opened fire at a crowd demonstrating for independence, killing more than 300 and injuring 1,200.

"I am so ashamed and sorry for the impact of this crime committed here. As a religious leader, I mourn the tragedy I see here," the archbishop said.

He said he could not speak on the behalf of the British government, but he was "personally very sorry for this terrible atrocity."

When asked if he would seek an apology from the British government, Mr Welby said, "I think I have been very clear about what I feel and that will be broadcast in England," the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

In April, then British Prime Minister Theresa May called the killings a "shameful scar" in British-Indian history but stopped short of a formal apology. 

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