Congress president Rahul Gandhi who arrived in Amritsar on Friday night, paid obeisance at Jallianwala Bagh on Saturday morning. Accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, and other senior Congress leaders of the state, Rahul reached Jallianwala Bagh at 8.30 am, walked up to the War memorial and laid wreath to pay homage to the martyrs. He also paid his tribute to the martyrs at the newly built Amar Jyoti Sthal at this historical Bagh.
Scores of people from all walks of life converged at the historical Town Hall and took out an impressive candle light procession that culminated at Jallianwala Bagh in the holy city of Amritsar on Friday evening to pay homage to the martyrs of Jallianawala Bagh. The procession was a part of the events organised to observe the centenary of the Jallianawala Bagh massacre.
The slogans of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ raised by the people participating in this historic procession reverberated along the route. Residents, shopkeepers and tourists also flanked the road from where the candle light procession passed and also raised the slogans. Many people were holding the national flag and patriotic songs were being played at the background.
Many who did not participate in the march came out in the balconies of their houses and business establishments, along the road leading to Jallianwala Bagh to see the procession. Some curious people even perched on the rooftops to have a better view. The onlookers, especially tourists, who had come from across the country and overseas could not resist themselves from taking pictures of the procession and ‘selfies’.
Amid tight security, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh along with the state Governor VPS Badnore also took part the procession
Accompanied by AICC Punjab in charge Asha Kumari, president Punjab Congress Sunil Jakhar, MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, Cabinet Ministers Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, OP Soni, MLAs Raj Kumar Verka, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Sunil Dutti and others, the Chief Minister interacted with the descendants of some of the martyrs killed in Jallianawala Bagh massacre and some freedom fighters too.
Meanwhile, rejecting the regret expressed by British Prime Minister Theresa May as inadequate, Amarinder Singh on Friday demanded an unequivocal official apology from Britain for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, whose centenary is being observed on Saturday.
Terming the tragic event as a heart-wrenching moment in India’s history, the chief minister said while interacting with media persons that the people of India wanted an unequivocal apology from Britain for the atrocity. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha had passed a resolution demanding the same, he pointed out, adding that the tragedy was one of the most horrific examples of colonial excesses and the massacre was a moral blot on the face of Britain.
The candles that were lit to honour the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh have rekindled memories of the Black Day and would serve as a reminder of the sacrifice of the hundreds who were killed in the massacre and went on become an inspiring source of patriotism and nationalism for generations of Indians, said the chief minister.
The brutal massacre had taken place on April 13, 1919, when, in the backdrop of the tyrannical Rowlatt Bill which aimed to curtail civil liberties and the subsequent Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi, thousands had come to Amritsar to celebrate Baisakhi. The crowd had assembled peacefully at the Bagh to condemn the arrest of two national leaders Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew when they were fired indiscriminately by the British General Dyer and his men. The shooting had continued for ten minutes claiming 379 lives as per government estimates, though the figure is believed to be much higher.