British paid compensation to families of 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre

British paid compensation to families of 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre

British paid compensation to families of 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre
Some rare documents hit upon during the ongoing work of digitization of Punjab archives exhibit that the British had announced cash compensation to families of those killed in the brutal massacre of innocent people at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919.

The massacre was ordered by Col Reginald Dyer. The developments unfold in the backdrop of a case in the Punjab and Haryana Court where a freedom fighter Mohan Singh has sought compensation for his grandfather’s brutal killing in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The petitioner claimed that the compensation has been long overdue. Documents say compensation was handed out to only 218 families out of the total 376 who were officially killed in the massacre. In reality, there were in excess of 1000 innocents including women, children and old who were killed in the gunfire.

Officials of the Punjab Digital Library (PDL) while working on the project accidentally found documents of historical importance that talk about the amount of compensation to effected families and even a confidential letter by the then Amritsar deputy commissioner HD Craik on the issue. Documents reveal that the compensation amount went up to Rs 1.01 lakh for an Amritsar-based businessman family. In many cases the compensation for the families of those killed was only a few thousands of rupees and a few hundreds of rupees for the injured. A total amount of Rs 15,92,155 was sanctioned for families of those killed.

The information has been documented in four files of the home department of the British administrated Punjab from 1920 to 1922. Experts maintain its a lesser know fact. Meanwhile in the petition before the Bench of Justice MMS Bedi, which will come up for hearing in the second week of July, petitioner Mohan Singh, 90, has said his grandfather, Ishar Singh, along with other villagers, had visited the congregation at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He said his grandfather died in firing that ill fated day.
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