Punjab Governor has taken a very bold stance by rejecting the invitation to Queen’s birthday party citing Jallianwala Bagh massacre-
Taking a bold and appropriate step, Punjab Governor V.P. Singh has rejected an invite to Queen Elizabeth’s birthday party. V.P. Singh said it would be inappropriate on his part to attend the dinner in Chandigarh days before the Jallianwala Bagh massacre’s 100th anniversary.
The governor was invited as a special guest to the dinner, to which he has politely declined and wrote back saying that it would not be appropriate for him to attend citing the massacre which took place 100 years back, on the day of Baisakhi, 13 April 1919.
Brigadier-General (later Colonel) Reginald Dyer on that dreaded day gave orders for open firing at a peaceful gathering in the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, resulting in deaths of hundreds of Indians.
Governor replying to the invitation by Andrew Ayre the British Deputy High Commissioner in Chandigarh, has written in a letter:
“While it would have been my privilege to be there but for the fact that is falling on the eve of the Hundredth Anniversary of the brutal massacre at ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ in Amritsar, therefore, I express my inability to attend the same.”
He also iterated the cordial relations between India and Britain after India got its independence , he Said “It was only yesterday British minister Mark Field responding to debate at Westminster Hall in the House of Commons expressed ‘deep regrets’ and assured the House that the issue pertaining to an apology for the ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Amritsar’ was in progress. Even the British Prime Minister Theresa May has termed ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ tragedy ‘a shameful scar’.”
He finally concluded “In the wake of the above, it may not be appropriate for me to be present on this occasion as ‘Jallianwala Bagh’ has always been a very emotive issue in Punjab.”
Punjab Governor declines to attend reception for Queen's Birthday hosted by British Dy High Commissioner in Chandigarh, citing Jallianwala Bagh massacre's 100th anniversary.@IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/VI3M1UfI78
— Man Aman Singh Chhina (@manaman_chhina) April 10, 2019
The British Parliament has also been seeing multiple demands from their representatives, for Britain to issue a formal apology for the brutal murder of more than 100 unarmed civilians.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday had described the massacre as a “shameful scar” on Indian-British history, however stopped short of a formal apology. She said: “We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused. I am pleased that today the UK-India relationship is one of collaboration, partnership, prosperity and security. Indian diaspora make an enormous contribution to British society and I am sure the whole House wishes to see the UK’s relationship with India continue to flourish,” she said. In response, Opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded that those who lost their lives in the massacre deserve a “full, clear and unequivocal apology for what took place.”
Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman, during a debate on the issue, had also reiterated demands of other members that Britain should issue a formal apology for the heinous crime.
“As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar on 13 April 1919, it is clear that there needs to be a formal apology from the United Kingdom government that accepts and acknowledges their part in the massacre,” said Indian-origin Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill.
British Parliament, taking this issue after 100 years of the massacre, indicates towards India’s rising diplomatic outreach over the past few years. With Punjab Governor also taking a bold step it displays India’s confidence in its diplomacy and soft power. British colonial rule over India saw Indians being subjugated by imperial laws, for which many, like in the Jallianwala Bagh, had to pay with their lives.
Pakistan, piggy backing India’s diplomatic strength also tried to take steam from the turn of events. Pakistani Minister Ch Fawad Hussain tweeted-
Fully endorse the demand that British empire must apologise to the nations of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh on Jallianwala Massacre and Bengal famine .. these tragedies are the scar on the face of Britain, also KohENoor must be returned to Lahore museum where it belongs
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) April 11, 2019
He demanded that Kohinoor be returned to Pakistan, although Pakistan trying to act smart, fails to recognise that Lahore and rest of Pakistan belonged to India when the diamond was stolen.