On April 13, 103 years ago, the horrific incident of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place. Till date it remains the darkest day in Indian History. On the auspicious festival of Baisakhi, when people were celebrating, some others were protesting at Bagh in Amritsar. On this black day, General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to open fire at the people, who were peacefully protesting at the Jallianwala Bagh. The firing killed several and shook the entire nation at that time
Thousands of people gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate Baisakhi and peacefully protest because of the arrest of two leaders, Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. But the public meetings and processions were banned, and villagers were not aware of that. Dyer entered with his troops to the Jallianwala Bagh and blocked the entrance. He ordered his troops to begin shooting at the unarmed civilians without any warning.
General Dyer stated that this act “was not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians for disobedience”. According to the official figures by the British government, more than 350 people were killed while thousands were severely injured. But, as per Congress, over 1,000 people lost their lives in the incident.
Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi condemned the attack and renounced their British Knighthood and Kaiser-i-Hind medal respectively. The former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill criticised Dyer’s actions. “The crowd was unarmed, except with bludgeons. It was not attacking anybody or anything… When the fire had been opened upon it to disperse it, it tried to run away,” Churchill had said.
After the incident, General Dyer was removed from the duty after the Hunter Commission submitted its report. He died July 23, 1927, due to a cerebral haemorrhage. Dyer reportedly said on his deathbed, “So many people who knew the condition of Amritsar say I did right…but so many others say I did wrong. I only want to die and know from my Maker whether I did right or wrong.”