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Thursday, June 11, 2020

What happened at Jallianwala Bagh 1919 ? (Narrated by an Eye Witness)

Image courtesy @Scroll.com

In World War I, the Indians sided with the British and the British government promised to give India a Self rule. Instead after the War the British Government forgot the promise and instead passed the controversial Rowlatt Act. The act gave the government the power to make arbitrary arrests. Protests against this act began all over India. Gandhi ji started the Satyagraha movement and strikes and processions started all over the country. Violent protests erupted in Lahore, Amritsar, Mumbai and Delhi in which police opened fire, killing scores of protesters. In response, several banks were set on fire in Amritsar and a British manager and an English teacher at the Mission School, "Miss Farsala Sherwood", was killed by protesters. Martial law was imposed in Amritsar. The arrests of Congress leaders Dr Saif Din Kachlo and Dr Satya Pal on April 11, 1919 were a catalyst for the situation. In this situation General Dyer entered Amritsar with the Gorkha army. Meetings and processions were banned.
One famous author “A.Hameed” Writes in his book "Memories of Amritsar" that his father Khalifa Sahib was thirty years old at that time. His father explains that there were days of “Besakhi”. There was a fair in the field in front of Ram Talai. On the unfortunate day of April 13, 1919 there was a light dust in the sky in Amritsar. He took Master Allah Bakhsh and Shah Sahib with him to Jallianwala Bagh. There was youthful enthusiasm and Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were all united against the British government. When they reached the Bagh, they saw a sea of ​​human beings. In his view, there would be a gathering of at least fifty thousand, including Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Hansraj of the Congress was speaking on the stage. Meanwhile, a plane circled the Bagh. Now a poet has started reciting a revolutionary poem in Urdu. They were late in the hall because they arrived late. Suddenly he saw that the Gurkha army had taken up positions near the garden entrance mound and General Dyer was looking around through binoculars. Shah Sahib said to Khalifa Sahib, "I think the bullet will go off today." The Khalifa replied, "Don't worry, it's just to scare." But the three of them, realizing the danger, went to the back of the hall. He had just taken a few steps when the machine guns started firing. General Dyer had ordered the bullet. This first fence of bullets passed through the heads of the people and a bullet hit a Muslim Gujar woman outside the Galwali Gate and she died. Hans Raj was announcing on the stage to not panic as these bullets are just to scare people.. There was a stampede in the whole hall. Most of the runaways were caused by the villagers who had come to Amritsar on the festival of “Besakhi” and were not aware of these political upheavals. The second round now hit the audience. Screams began on all sides. People started falling after receiving bullets. Some people jumped into the well. Khalifa Sahib says that a bullet passed near my ear and hit a Sikh on the head. He fell without sighing and his body was trampled underfoot by people in moments.
Their clothes were torn and they walked over the people to the garden wall. The wall was nine feet high and people were falling down receiving bullets while trying to climb it. General Dyer's troops were conducting a third round, and even people lying on the ground were shot in the head. He climbed the wall and began to look for his companions. He saw General Dyer ordering firing with gestures. After a while, he stopped firing and Khalifa Sahib jumped up and went back to the hall. There were doomsday scenes. There were piles of corpses and rivers of blood. The well water had turned red. He saw a child who was wounded under the corpses. When Khalifa Sahib saw him, he shouted "Pita ji pita ji" and started crying loudly. When he took him to the street, he saw a middle-aged Hindu Lala crying and beating. The father and son screamed and hugged together. When a friend of his, Sikandar Ali, arrived to find his child, he found his son's body under a pile of corpses. Nearby lay the body of his uncle Ismail, with whom the child had come to see the meeting. He saw an old Sikh lying on the ground with his child on his chest and machine gun bullets ripping through both their bodies. There were corpses all the way to the market in front of the garden and people were madly searching for their loved ones. According to Khalifa, the bodies of at least three or four thousand people were scattered in the hall and bazaar. After that, martial law was imposed again at night and the British government intensified its cruel tactics.
This incident teaches us a lesson that nations have to make sacrifices for freedom and one day the oppressed people get victory over tyrant. Thanks to these martyrs the British government had to flee the subcontinent after some time. The United Kingdom, which calls itself a human rights Champion, should apologize for this heinous massacre.

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