April 13, 1919, was not just another Baisakhi day in Amritsar. Ninety-nine years ago, one of the bloodiest actions of British rule was the calculated massacre of close to 2,000 innocent Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims at the Jallianwala Bagh.The brutal bloodbaths shook the people of the sub-continent and built tremendous resentment against the British government, ultimately leading to the fall of British rule in 1947.
Lesser Known facts about the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre:
# The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre is also known as the Amritsar Massacre.
# The incident took place on April 13, 1919. It was a Sunday.
# The precursor to the Massacre was the Rowlatt Act. This act was passed in February 1919. The Rowlatt Act gave the British Government the authority to arrest anyone on grounds of mere suspicion.
# On April 10, 1919, two popular leaders, Dr Satyapal and Dr Kichlu were arrested under the act, which made the public furious and fearing a violent repercussion, General Dyer, on behalf of the government issued an order banning any public meetings or gatherings in Amritsar.
# A public meeting was scheduled for April 13th in Jallianwala Bagh when the festival of Baisakhi was being celebrated and was met with no remorse from the British government. Around 6,000 to 10,000 people gathered at the venue to attend that meeting, which included ladies and even children.
# On that day, British authorities opened fire on a peaceful procession at Amritsar. This resulted in an assault on British people from the Indian side.
# Around 6,000 to 10,000 people gathered at the venue to attend that meeting, which included ladies and even children.
# Since Jallianwala Bagh was an enclosed place surrounded by walls on every side with just one main gate and two-three tiny lanes for exit, General Dyer took the most voyeuristic advantage of the situation, closed the exit gates and ordered his riflemen to blatantly shoot at the gathering. The shooting continued for a while until the ammunition supply was exhausted, killing many innocent people. The colourful festival turned into a bloodbath.
# This massacre met with a lot of strong remorse from the entire nation and shaped the upcoming events of the history of India’s freedom struggle.
# Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in protest, and Gandhiji returned his ‘Kaisar-i-Hind’ medal.
# A ‘Hunter community’ was formed to enquire about the incident under the leadership of Lord Hunter. However, due to no fruitful follow up, the Indian National Congress appointed its own trusted officials to enquire about the incident, which included Motilal Nehru and C.R Das.
# The Indian National Congress built a memorial for the innocent souls who departed on an unfortunate day and the memorial was inaugurated by Rajendra Prasad in 1961.