Wednesday 18 September 2019
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The News - 7 days ago

Archbishop of Canterbury prostrate over 1919 India massacre

AMRITSAR, India: Britain has never apologised for the 1919 massacre at Amritsar in India but the head of the Church of England prostrated himself to say sorry in a personal capacity and in the name of Christ . British troops fired on thousands of unarmed men, women and children in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, killing 379 people according to colonial-era records. Indian figures put the total closer to 1,000. I can t speak for the British Government as I am not an official of the British Government. But I can speak in the name of Christ, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said as he visited the location in northern India on Tuesday. I am so ashamed and sorry for the impact of the crime committed. I am a religious leader, not a politician.As a religious leader, I mourn the tragedy we see here, he added at the site, known in India as Jallianwala Bagh. On Facebook he added that his visit aroused a sense of profound shame at what happened in this place. It is one of a number of deep stains on British history. The pain and grief that has transcended the generations since must never be dismissed or denied. The event 100 years ago marked a nadir in Britain s occupation of India, and served to boost Indian nationalism and harden support for independence.In 1997 Britain s queen laid a wreath at a site during a tour of India. But her gaffe-prone husband Prince Philip stole the headlines by reportedly saying that the Indian estimates for the death count were vastly exaggerated . In 2013 David Cameron became the first serving British prime minister to visit Jallianwala Bagh.He described the episode as deeply shameful but stopped short of a public apology. Ahead of centenary commemorations earlier this year, Cameron s since-resigned successor Theresa May on told parliament that Britain deeply regretted what happened and the suffering caused. But she too didn t say sorry.

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