On 13 April 1919, a peaceful crowd of 2000 men, women and children had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, a walled garden near the Golden Temple, to protest British rule. A group of British soldiers led by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened unprovoked fire at the innocent crowd, relentlessly massacring the protestors even as the crowd dispersed in panic, many of them jumping into a well to escape the gunfire. Today, the furthest end of the Bagh is marked by a Martyrs’ Memorial built in the shape of an eternal flame. A section of the wall, pock-marked by bullets, as also the well, has been preserved as a reminder of the tragic event.
Let’s study in detail what exactly has happened on Jallianwala Bagh-
It all started in 1919 when the British government passed the “Rowlatt Act” to control the act of Indian revolutionaries. The Act was strongly opposed by the Indian people as it was giving the British government more authority over them. To protest this law Indians named it as “Black Act”.
On April 10, 1919, Dr Satyapal and Dr Kitchlew, the two influential leaders were arrested which made the public furious about violent repercussion. General Dyer passed an order banning any public meeting/gathering in Amritsar.
On 13 April 1919, it was a festival time for Sikh community of Amritsar where all were gathered to celebrate the day of Baisakhi. Many people including ladies and children were celebrating the festival and discussion was to be held for abolishing Rowlatt Act.
After hearing that a meeting had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh, General Dyer went with his troops at the place and closed the exit gates of Jallianwala Bagh. He ordered his troops to shoot at the crowd and continued until the ammunition supply was exhausted. The festival of Baisakhi turned into a bloodbath for Sikh community which has killed many innocent people.
The British government had to suspend General Dyer as it was aggression among Indians. General Dyer quietly returned to Britain.
The day is unforgettable for all of us. Indian National Congress has built a memorial for the innocent people who lost their lives on this day. The past cannot be changed but we all can have the respect amongst the people who lost their lives for Independent India.