Fresh pressure on UK to apologise for Jallianwala Bagh massacre
During a visit in 1997, Queen Elizabeth said at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial: "History cannot be rewritten, however much we might sometimes wish otherwise. It has its moments of sadness, as well as gladness. We must learn from the sadness and build on the gladness.”Updated: Apr 09, 2019 07:38 IST
The Theresa May government is expected to reiterate on Tuesday Britain’s position since the mid-1990s of expressing ‘deep regret’ for the April 13, 1919, massacre in Jallianwala Bagh that may set the stage for a full apology later, amid growing demand for the gesture.
As Channel 4 and other media organisations in the UK gear up for documentaries and special features to mark the event, a debate secured by Conservative MP Bob Blackman is scheduled in the Westminster Hall on Tuesday, when foreign office minister Mark Field is likely to repeat London’s ‘deep regret’ for the historic event.
A similar sentiment was expressed during the February 19 debate in the House of Lords, when the government said it has been “reflecting” on the demand for a full apology. Such apologies have been previously been tendered by prime ministers for various historical misdeeds.
A foreign office spokesperson said: “The government rightly condemned the (Amritsar) incident at the time: Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill called it 'a monstrous event… which stands in singular and sinister isolation”.
“HM the Queen and prime minister David Cameron both expressed our deep regret on visits to Jallianwala Bagh”.
During a visit in 1997, Queen Elizabeth said at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial: "History cannot be rewritten, however much we might sometimes wish otherwise. It has its moments of sadness, as well as gladness. We must learn from the sadness and build on the gladness.”
Cameron visited the memorial in 2013, but confined himself to calling the massacre “a deeply shameful event”, and sought to justify his decision not to tender an apology.
He said at the time: "In my view, we are dealing with something here that happened a good 40 years before I was even born, and which Winston Churchill described as 'monstrous' at the time and the British government rightly condemned at the time".