Amritsar, April 13: Congress President Rahul Gandhi paid homage to martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at the national memorial in Amritsar on Saturday.
Gandhi was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and his cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Gandhi, Singh and Sidhu were joined by people in large numbers who gathered to pay homage to hundreds of men and woman who were gunned down by British troops on April 13, 1919.
They also observed a two-minute silence to remember those who were massacred in the tragic incident.
“The cost of freedom must never ever be forgotten. We salute the people of India who gave everything they had for it. Jai Hind,” Gandhi wrote in the visitors’ book at the memorial.
Gandhi reached Amritsar on Friday night. He paid a visit to Golden Temple complex where he offered prayers at the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion.
April 13 marks the 100th anniversary of the bloodbath, when British forces led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on unarmed, innocent Indians, including children, who were present at a gathering protesting peacefully against the oppressive Rowlatt Act of the British government.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one of the darkest chapters of India’s freedom struggle against the British occupation. The official death toll by the British government was put at 379.
Hundreds of people, including students, residents and visitors held a candlelight vigil in Amritsar on the eve of the 100th anniversary late on Friday.
The British government, even after 100 years, has only regretted the massacre but stopped short of apologising for the killing of so many innocent people.
Rejecting the regret expressed by British Prime Minister Theresa May as “inadequate”, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday demanded “an unequivocal official apology from Britain”.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu will arrive here later for the main function commemorating the massacre.