With a motive to punish civilians for showing “disobedience”, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer arrived at Jallianwala Bagh and sealed off the exit to ensure nobody could flee the spot.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre also known as massacre of Amritsar completed 103 years on Wednesday. On the festival of Baisakhi on April 13, 1919, British troops resorted to indiscriminate firing on a large gathering of unarmed Indians at Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab’s Amritsar, killing hundreds of people and injuring over 1,000 more.
The massacre marked a turning point in Indian Independence movement. Here are some lesser known facts about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre:
1. On March 10, 1919, the British regime passed Rowlatt Act (Black Act), authorising the government to imprison or confine, without a trial, any person found involved in seditious activities. The rule led to discontent among Indians. Mahatma Gandhi launched Satyagraha movement to protest against the Rowlatt Act. On April 7, 1919, Gandhi published an article called Satyagrahi, describing ways to oppose the oppressive rule.
2.Two popular Indian independence activists, Saifuddin Kitchlew and Satyapal, also organised a peaceful protest against the Rowlatt Act in Amritsar. On the occasion of Ram Navami on April 9, 1919, an order was issued to arrest the duo. On April 10, 1919, they were arrested. In view of the protests, Britishers banned the public gatherings.
3. Unaware of the order, thousands of unarmed Indians had come together to celebrate the festival of Baisakhi and also stage a protest against the arrest of the two leaders at Jallianwala Bagh, an open space that had only one exit. With a motive to punish civilians for showing “disobedience”, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer arrived at the Jallianwala Bagh and sealed off the exit to ensure nobody could flee the spot. He then ordering the troops to fire into a crowd of thousands of unarmed civilians.
4. Without warning, the troops opened fire on the crowd and continued shooting until they ran out of ammunition. Over 1,650 rounds of bullets were fired at the crowd.