JEREMY CORBYN has written to PM Theresa May on the 100th anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre today to demand the government apologise for the “shameful” atrocity.
Up to 1,000 people died and a further 1,500 were injured when the British Indian army fired thousands of rounds at unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest in Amritsar, India.
Sikhs had gathered to mark the religious festival Vaisakhi and were joined by Hindus and Muslims as part of the protest against colonial rule.
The Labour leader highlighted how the massacre came within months of the end of World War I, when tens of thousands of Sikhs from Punjab “sacrificed their lives for freedom in Europe.”
He said: “It is vitally important that the British government apologises for this atrocity.
“The apology should be to the victims of the massacre, their families and descendants, the people of Punjab and the worldwide Sikh community.”
Mr Corbyn pointed out that on October 31 last year, foreign affairs select committee chairman Tom Tugendhat advised the government to apologise.
“It may be an appropriate moment for Her Majesty’s government to very publicly and formally apologise for what must be regarded as one of the worst crimes in the colonial period,” Mr Tugendhat said.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt replied that it was a “very profound thought” and asked for time to reflect.
The same demand was also raised by the UK Sikh Federation in its five-point plan two years ago, prior to the 2017 general election.
Mr Corbyn added: “The British government has had plenty of time to reflect on an appropriate response.
“It is not enough to condemn the massacre and express shame. In government, Labour would apologise for this shameful moment in our history.”