Op/Ed – Earlier this week, David Cameron became the first British Prime Minister to pay his respect at the 1919 Massacre site of Jallianwala Bagh in Sri Amritsar Sahib. David Cameron broke with previous official visits and publicly regretted the horrifying incident that claimed the lives of over 1,000 innocent Punjabis.
In a hand written note, Cameron stated –
“This was a deeply shameful event in British history — one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as ‘monstrous’.
We must never forget what happened here. And in remembering, we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the right of peaceful protest around the world.”
Cameron’s visit to India has largely been to reinforce the economic ties between England and India and likely the Jallianwala Bagh apology comes to strengthen support from the British Sikh Community. Whatever the reasons may be; it is still highly commendable of David Cameron to express his regrets, something which has not been done in the past by a British Prime Minister.
Today, the British Prime Minister is in India stating that the 1919 massacre has brought shame to his country, but leaders of India are still quiet about the inhumane Sikh Genocide, Operation Bluestar and other operations that were carried out post 1984 in Punjab against the Sikhs. The casualties of Jallianwala Bagh are insignificant when compared to the 1984 genocide of the Sikhs which included the attack on the holiest shrine of the community: the Harmandir Sahib.
India’s leaders ought to learn a lesson from Cameron. His motives may have been to gather the support of the Sikhs, but the country he is visiting has continued to neglect Punjab and its people, a majority of them being Sikhs. How long will it take for the Indian Government to denounce and stop its barbaric acts against its own people? This is a question that needs to be posed to all leaders of the Indian Democracy.