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(Image: bullet marks in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritar)

Gurdwaras in Singapore will be holding a minute silence after the ardas (standing prayer) at midday this Saturday 13th April 2019 and the UK should follow suit

This 13th April 1919 marks the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. Thousands of peaceful protestors were gunned down following orders by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, many unaware martial law had been imposed and came to Amritsar to celebrate Vaisakhi. The officially declared death toll was 379 civilians which included men, women and children and over a thousand were injured.

The NSO encourages UK gurdwaras to hold a minute silence this Saturday after the ardas at midday, to remember those who lost their lives in this tragedy described by Churchill as ‘monstrous’ and which former PM Tony Blair said, ‘reminds us of the worst aspects of colonialism.’

Lord Singh, the NSO’s Director said, ‘I strongly urge all Sikhs everywhere to visit their gurdwaras and observe a minute’s silence at midday 13 April 2019 to remember and honour the hundreds of innocent victims mercilessly gunned down in cold blood by British soldiers. The incident made the demand for independence unstoppable.’

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Jallianwala Bagh massacre April 13, 1919

In a debate earlier this week Lord Ahmad asked Her Majesty’s Government what initiatives they had in place to commemorate the contribution to the Great War of people who came from what is now Pakistan, or in other words undivided India.

The contribution to the war effort of all faiths was duly acknowledged by Lord Bourne, who said: ‘Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Baha’is and people of all faiths and none, fall side by side with their Christian and Jewish comrades on the fields where they fought and died together.’

Whilst reflecting on the British Indian army’s contribution, Lord Singh took the opportunity to ask the Minister to address historic wrongs of Empire.

He said, ‘My Lords, undivided Punjab played a substantial part in the greatest volunteer army in history. One of the reasons that was done was because people were promised a substantial measure of independence following the end of the war.’

He went on, ‘Instead, there was fierce repression under the Rowlatt Act and, following that, in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of several hundred unarmed civilians. We British are justly known for our sense of fair play and justice. Given that, should we not now make an unequivocal apology to the people of the subcontinent?’

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