Jallianwala Bagh massacre: Researchers list 547 deaths, 159 more than official count
After a research conducted by Amritsar’s Partition Museum and Delhi’s Art and Culture Heritage Trust , more people have been added to the list of those martyred during Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. The two and a half year research has identified as many as 502 martyrs while 45 remain unidentified, making for a total of 547 people who died in the massacre. However, official figures released by the British in 1919 had estimated the number at 488.
Victims of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy have also been recognised by Art and Culture Trust, New Delhi and Partition Museum Amritsar where their names have been written on the walls of the exhibition. A team of about ten researchers and curators have been digging out more sources on the incident, over two and a half years, from archives both in India and in United Kingdom. There was much discrepancy in data as people did not only die of bullet wounds, but some also died in a stampede, with some succumbing to their injuries months or year later,” said Ganeev Singh Dhillon curator of the Partition Museum.
According to the official list, then presiding deputy commissioner Amritsar Miles Irving in a handwritten document dated November 12, 1919 has acknowledged that 488 people died in the 1919 massacre. Kishwar Desai, chairperson of the Partition Museum said, “A few additional documents, especially composition letters, that were filed much later in 1922, in which people came forward demanding allowances, were gathered during the research work.”
She further stated, “We are going through every bit of research, anecdotes, documentaries, audio clips and eye witness accounts, and have displaying them at the exhibition as well. Data is available at the exhibition and we plan to publish it soon.”
The research includes quotes by Kulwant Singh Suri, son of author Nanak Singh who wrote ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ a book that was banned by British immediately after its release. The research has also taken into account the narrative of Surinder Singh and Avtar Singh Gill whose grandfather and father were wounded during the massacre.
In popular depiction, a lot of women are shown to be present, but it’s highly unlikely because according to studies there were barely three to four women killed during the massacre. Following the violence in Amritsar on April 10, few women were allowed to move out of their houses, Desai said.
At least 52 victims who died in the massacre were younger than 18 years, Dhillon said.