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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Cameron et la «honte» d’un massacre britannique en Inde

by Lina Sankari

Cameron and the "shameful" massacre in British India

Translated Saturday 23 February 2013, by Kristina Wischenkamper

This Thursday British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the scene of the Amritsar massacre, the massacre which precipitated India into its struggle for independence.

There was "regret" but no repentance. The British Prime Minister visited the site of the 1919 Amritsar massacre perpetrated by the British Army in full colonial rule. David Cameron laid a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in the heart of the Punjab (northwest).

Between 400 and 2,000 deaths

On 13 April 1919, the Queen’s soldiers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration against the Rowlatt Act, killing between 400 and 2,000 people. This law gave the government the power to imprison and try arbitrarily Indians suspected of involvement in "agitation". "It was a deeply shameful event” in British history, and in his time Winston Churchill called it “monstrous," wrote the current head of state in the memorial register. "We must never forget what happened here. And, in remembering, we must ensure that the UK campaigns for the right to demonstrate peacefully throughout the world. "

Sufficient moral effect

The Prime Minister, however, refused to make a formal apology: "I don’t think the right thing is to reach back into history and to seek out things you can apologize for." The Amritsar massacre was undoubtedly a turning point in the history of India and precipitated it into its struggle for independence. According to General Dyer, who on that day gave the order to fire, "it was to disperse the crowd, and to produce a sufficient moral effect, from a military perspective, not only on those present, but essentially across the whole Punjab".


For another view of the Prime Minister’s visit to India, see this article and video.


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