Apologise for Jallianwala Bagh massacre: Indian-origin MP Virendra Sharma to British government
Updated : Tuesday 12th Dec 2017

Apologise for "The Jallianwala Bagh massacre that took place in Amritsar druing the British Raj in 13 April 1919- MP Virendra Sharma

20 October 2017

Labour MP Virendra Sharma is urging Brithish parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to come togather to support his parilamentary motion pushing for a formal apology from the British government for the jallianwala Bagh Massacre. This maccacre took place in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar Punjab over Vaisakhi in 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired machine guns at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration. It claimed thousands of lives and injured thousands other.

Sharma, the Labour MP for Ealing Southhall, Tabled the Early Day Motion - a formal parliamentary means for MPs to draw attention to an issue - earlier this week, and has so far attracted eight signatories from across the political spectrum Labour, the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party, The Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland

The motion called for the government to "formally apologise" in the house of Commons and inaugurate a memorial day to  mark the event, ahead of the 100th anniversary in 2019. It notes David Cameron's descriptin of the massacre as a "deeply shameful event" while on a visit to India in 2013 and urges the government to ensure more was taught about this "shameful period" in British history. "This event does not represent modern British values" it said.

Sharma said he expected to garner futher political support. "Its not a question for any political party- it's a historical fact that the people of Britain should know about. It hurt deeply then and it hurts deeply now." While Sharma does not anticipate debate in the House of Commons on the issue, he said he planned to launch a number of other initiatives to raise awareness of the issue and the need for an apology and greater education community events, as well as in the House of Commons. "There are parts of the history that are unacceptable but which people must know about.... its missing in large part from history books in this country." he said. The debate over the impact of the British Empire more widely has gained increasing prominence in the past year, with the focus on Brexit and Britain's desire to expand beyond the European union, with some harking back to the days.

It urges the government to ensure the "British children are taught about  this shameful period and that modern British values welocme the right to peaceful peotest and further urges the government formally to apologise in the House of commons and inaugurate a memorial day to commemorate this event."

Colonial History

"The United Kingdom is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not need to bury its 20th century history." declared Liam Fox, a prominer prominent campaingner for Brexit, several months before he became Britian's Secretary of State for international Trade last year. A 2016 poll found that just 21 per cent of people in Britain regretted it's colonial history. However, others have endorsed the views of critics such as Shashi Tharoor, who caught much media and public attention earlier this year during his book tour for Inglorious Empire (published in India as An Era of Darkness), which is deeply critical of the impact British rule on India. He accused Britain of historical amnesia. With the 100th anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh in 2019, and the latest parliamentary campaign, the debate is likely to intensify further.

20 October 2017

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