Amritsar Massacre

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Jalian wala massacre in Amritsar

Transcript of Amritsar Massacre

  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

    Narrow passage to Jallianwala Bagh Garden throughwhich the shooting was conducted.


    Amritsarin India

    Location Amritsar, British India

    Coordinates 31.62053N 74.88031E

    Date 13 April 191917:30 (UTC+5:30)

    Target Hindu, Muslim and Sikh religiousand political gathering

    Attack type massacre

    Weapon(s) Lee-Enfield rifles

    Deaths 370-1,000


    several thousands

    Perpetrators British Indian Army unit under thecommand of Brigadier ReginaldDyer

    Number ofparticipants


    Jallianwala Bagh massacreFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Amritsar Massacre)

    The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as theAmritsar massacre, was a seminal event in the British ruleof India. On 13 April 1919, a crowd of non-violentprotesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, had gathered inthe Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar, Punjab to protestthe arrest of two leaders despite a curfew which had beenrecently declared.[1] On the orders of Brigadier-GeneralReginald Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for tenminutes, directing their bullets largely towards the fewopen gates through which people were trying to run out.The dead numbered between 370 and 1,000, or possiblymore. The "brutality stunned the entire nation",[2]

    resulting in a "wrenching loss of faith" of the generalpublic in the intentions of Britain.[3] The ineffectiveinquiry and the initial accolades for Dyer by the House ofLords fueled widespread anger, leading to theNon-cooperation movement of 192022.[4]

    On Sunday, 13 April 1919, Dyer was convinced of amajor insurrection and he banned all meetings, howeverthis notice was not widely disseminated.[5] That was theday of Baisakhi, the main Sikh festival, and manyvillagers had gathered in the Bagh. On hearing that ameeting had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh, Dyer wentwith fifty Gurkha riflemen to a raised bank and orderedthem to shoot at the crowd. Dyer continued the firing forabout ten minutes, until the ammunition supply wasalmost exhausted; Dyer stated that 1,650 rounds had beenfired, a number which seems to have been derived bycounting empty cartridge cases picked up by the troops.[6]

    Official British Indian sources gave a figure of 379identified dead,[6] with approximately 1,100 wounded.The casualty number estimated by the Indian NationalCongress was more than 1,500, with approximately 1,000dead.[7]

    Dyer was initially lauded by conservative forces in theempire, but in July 1920 he was censured and forced toretire by the House of Commons.[8] He became acelebrated hero in Britain among most of the peopleconnected to the British Raj,[9] for example, the House ofLords,[10] but unpopular in the House of Commons, thatvoted against Dyer twice.[11] The massacre caused are-evaluation of the army's role, in which the new policybecame "minimum force", and the army was retrained anddeveloped suitable tactics for crowd control.[12] Some

    Coordinates: 31.62053N 74.88031E

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  • historians consider the episode as a decisive step towards the end of British rule in India,[13] although othersbelieve that greater self-government was inevitable as a result of India's involvement in World WarI.[citation needed]


    1 Background1.1 India during World War I1.2 After the war

    2 Prelude to the massacre3 The massacre4 Aftermath

    4.1 Reaction4.2 The Hunter Commission4.3 Demonstration at Gujranwala4.4 Assassination of Michael O'Dwyer

    5 Monument and legacy5.1 Formation of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee5.2 Regret5.3 Artistic portrayals

    6 See also7 References8 Further reading9 External links


    India during World War I

    Main article: Ghadar Mutiny

    During World War I, British India contributed to the British war effort by providing men and resources.About 1.25 million Indian soldiers and labourers served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, while boththe Indian administration and the princes sent large supplies of food, money, and ammunition. However,Bengal and Punjab remained sources of anticolonial activities. Revolutionary attacks in Bengal, associatedincreasingly with disturbances in Punjab, were significant enough to nearly paralyse the regionaladministration.[14][15]

    A pan-Indian mutiny in the British Indian Army, planned for February 1915, was the most prominent planamongst a number of plots of the much larger HinduGerman Mutiny, formulated between 1914 and 1917 toinitiate a Pan-Indian rebellion against the British Raj during World War I. The revolutionaries included theIndian nationalists in India, the United States and Germany, along with help from the Irish republicans andthe German Foreign Office. The plot originated on the onset of the World War, between the Ghadar Party inthe United States, the Berlin Committee in Germany, the Indian revolutionary underground in British Indiaand the German Foreign Office through the consulate in San Francisco. The planned February mutiny wasultimately thwarted when British intelligence infiltrated the Ghadarite movement, arresting key figures.Mutinies in smaller units and garrisons within India were also crushed.

    After the war

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  • The Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919, monthsafter the massacre.

    In the aftermath of World War I, high casualty rates, increasing inflation compounded by heavy taxation, thedeadly 1918 flu pandemic, and the disruption of trade during the war escalated human suffering in India. Thecosts of the protracted war in both money and manpower were great. In India, long the "jewel in the crown"of the British Empire, Indians were restless for independence. More than 43,000 Indian soldiers had diedfighting for Britain.

    Indian soldiers smuggled arms into India to fight British rule. The pre-war Indian nationalist sentiment,revived as moderate and extremist groups of the Indian National Congress, ended their differences in orderto unify. In 1916, the Congress succeeded in establishing the Lucknow Pact, a temporary alliance with theAll-India Muslim League.

    Prelude to the massacre

    Ever since the Rebellion of 1857 British officials in India lived in fearof native conspiracies and revolts; they warned each other that thenatives were most suspicious when they seemed superficiallyinnocent.[16] Investigators at the time and historians since have foundno conspiratorial links whatever to the events in Amritsar, but theBritish fears animated their responsesGeneral Dyer believed aviolent thrashing would dampen conspiraciesand afterwards hewas hailed in Britain for having preempted a terrorist attack. Theevents that ensued from the passage of the Rowlatt Act in 1919 werealso influenced by activities associated with the Ghadar conspiracy.British Indian Army troops were returning from Europe andMesopotamia to an economic depression in India.[17]

    The attempts at mutiny during 1915 and the Lahore conspiracy trials were still causing fear among theBritish. Rumours of young Mohajirs who fought on behalf of the Turkish Caliphate, and later, in the ranks ofthe Red Army during the Russian Civil War, were circulated in army circles. The Russian Revolution hadalso begun to influence Indians.[18] Ominously for the British, in 1919, the Third Anglo-Afghan War beganand in India, Gandhi's call for protest against the Rowlatt Act achieved an unprecedented response of furiousunrest and protests. The situation especially in Punjab was deteriorating rapidly, with disruptions of rail,telegraph and communication systems.

    Many army officers believed revolt was possible, and they prepared for the worst. In Amritsar, more than15,000 people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh. The British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Michael O'Dwyer,is said to have believed that these were the early and ill-concealed signs of a conspiracy for a coordinatedrevolt around May, at a time when British troops would have withdrawn to the hills for the summer. TheAmritsar massacre, as well as responses preceding and succeeding it, contrary to being an isolated incident,was the end result of a concerted plan of response from the Punjab administration to suppress such aconspiracy.[19] James Houssemayne Du Boulay is said to have ascribed a direct relationship between thefear of a Ghadarite uprising in the midst of an increasingly tense situation in Punjab, and the British responsethat ended in the massacre.[20]

    On 10 April 1919, there was a protest at the residence of the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, a city inPunjab, a large province in the northwestern part of India. The demonstration was to demand the release oftwo popular leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, who hadbeen earlier arrested by the government and moved to a secret location. Both were proponents of theSatyagraha movement led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. A military picket shot at the crowd, killingseveral protesters and setting off a series of violent events. Later the same day, several banks and othergovernment buildings, including the Town Hall and the railway station, were attacked and set afire. Theviolence continued to escalate, culminating in the deaths of at least five Europeans, including government

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  • "The Martyrs' Well" at JallianwalaBagh.

    employees and civilians. There was retaliatory shooting at crowds from the military several times during theday, and between e