Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as Amritsar massacre was one of the bloodiest attacks India witnessed during the British era. On April 13, 1919, on the command of General R.E.H.Dyer, British troops opened fire on civilians who have assembled in Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab to participate in Baisakhi celebrations. The firing which continued for ten minutes killed 379 and left 1,200 injured.
General Dyer who was Amritsar’s acting military commander had banned public gatherings of over four people but protestors assembled at Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate the Punjabi harvest festival. Many also died in the stampede while trying to flee bullets, while a lot of people died jumping into an unused well.
Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one of the worst political crimes of the twentieth century were committed in Punjab. Hatred had been building up in Punjab since the beginning of the War (World War I), mainly due to the ruthless drive by the British for recruiting soldiers and forced contribution to the war fund. On April 13, the day of Baisakhi festival, a meeting was called in the afternoon at the Jallianwala Bagh. Thousands of people, many of whom had come from surrounding villages to the fairs in Amritsar and were unaware of the ban order, gathered for the meeting. Suddenly General Dyer appeared with troops and without any warning to the people, ordered firing on the completely peaceful and defenseless crowd.
A series of shots continued till Dyer’s ammunition ran out. At least about a thousand people, if not more, are estimated to have been killed. This cold-blooded massacre, Dyer admitted later, was committed to strike terror not only in the city of Amritsar but throughout Punjab.
Other important events on 13th April:
1699- Khalsa Panth established.
1796- The first elephant was brought to America from Bengal, India.
1851- Ganga Ram, great social reforme, and an assistant engineer in the Public Works Department, Punjab, was born at Mangtanwala, now in Pakistan.
1890- Ramchandra Gopal Torne (Dadasaheb), film director, was born.
1948- Bhuvaneshwar became the capital of Orissa.
1972- Balraj Sahani, famous film actor, passed away.
1984- India beat Pak by 58 runs to win the first Cricket Asia Cup in Sharjah.
1994- United Arab Emirates lost to India in its first official ODI.