London Mayor calls for apology to people of Amritsar for Jallianwala Bagh

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan paying tribute to martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on Wednesday

London's plain-speaking mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday said it was time for the British government to make a "full and formal apology" to India for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre almost a century ago as he visited Amritsar. He paid a rich tribute to those who died in the Jallianwala Bagh incident.

Sadiq Khan extended his apologies during today's visit but made it clear that a formal Government apology should have been given decades ago and that, ahead of the centenary of the massacre, it is more important now than ever that the Government properly acknowledges what happened at Jallianwala Bagh to ensure something like this can never happen again. "I want to make it clear that a memorial should take pride of place in London to honour those who served and died in the wars". It is time for the British government to finally apologize.

While visiting the memorial at Amritsar in the northern state of Punjab, the mayor wrote in the memorial visitors' book that it was "incredibly moving" to be at the site of the carnage, saying it would never be forgotten.

On April, 13, 1919 troops from the British Indian Army fired on unarmed civilians in India, killing hundreds and wounding many more. "We all know the history here", Mr Khan said during a media interaction. "The suggestion, coming from a British government functionary is good and, if implemented, will go a long way in further strengthening ties between India and the UK. Some people used the word massacre", the Mayor said.

On Dec. 5 evening, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and others met Khan at a dinner hosted for him. About Khan's statement, he said: "I am very happy to hear it.... Perhaps to some extent will help assuage the wounds of Indians, who suffered the pain of the struggle for Independence", he added.

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Khan, later December 6, visited the Golden Temple complex, where Harmandir Sahib, the holiest of Sikh shrines, is located and offered prayers.

During his visit, he participated in langar at the Golden Temple complex and showed keen interest in knowing how the food is prepared.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gave Khan a "siropa" (robe of honor) during the visit. "The Golden Temple is a spiritual home for tens of thousands of Londoners of the Sikh faith and millions of Sikhs around the world come to Amritsar to pay their respects to worship", he said while talking to the reporters.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, "The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one of the most horrific events in Indian history".

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