‘Ashamed’ over Jallianwala Bagh massacre: UK archbishop

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar on Tuesday. PTI

The archbishop of Britain’s Canterbury on Tuesday sought forgiveness for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, saying he was “ashamed of the crime committed”.

Justin Welby, who serves as the head of the Church of England, a position that dates back almost 1,400 years, visited the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial in Amritsar on Tuesday. 

“I feel a deep sense of grief, humility and profound shame having visited the site of the horrific Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar today. Here, a great number of Sikhs — as well as Hindus, Muslims and Christians — were shot dead by British troops in 1919,” the archbishop tweeted on Tuesday. 

British records suggest some 379 people were killed in the massacre. However, Indian figures put the figure at nearly 1,000 persons, including men, women and children.

The archbishop said he was not the official of the government but could speak in the name of Christ. It is a place for sin and redemption, he said.

“Britain has never formally apologized for the tragedy,” he said.

“You have remembered what they have done, and their memory will live. I’m ashamed and sorry for the crime committed here. As a religious leader I mourn the tragedy,” he said. 

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