Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday released a postage stamp and a coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Hundreds of innocent Indian lives were lost when British forces ordered to fire indiscriminately inside the Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab's Amritsar on April 13, 1919. The coin is worth Rs 100.
Offering tributes to the fallen, Naidu's message in the visitor's book at the memorial read, "I feel extremely humbled as I pay my homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting the evil hegemony of the oppressive British rule. I salute the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very spot 100 years ago."
Accompanied by Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore, Naidu stood in silence at the memorial as contingents of the Punjab Police and the Border Security Force (BSF) reversed their arms to pay homage to those killed. Naidu also released a coin and a postal stamp to commemorate the event.
Saturday marked the centenary of the bloodbath in Jallianwala Bagh when British forces led by Brigadier General Reginald Dyer opened fire on unarmed, innocent Indians, including women and children, who had gathered there to hold a peaceful protest against the oppressive Rowlatt Act of the British government.
Earlier in the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh paid their homage to the martyrs at the National Memorial.
Punjab cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu also accompanied them, as the leaders were joined by a large number of people to commemorate the tragic incident that took place on the day of `Baisakhi` 100 years ago.
British High Commissioner Dominic Asquith on Saturday expressed deep regret and sorrow over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, but remained non-committal on any apology coming from the British government on the brutal killings.
Rejecting the regret expressed recently by British Prime Minister Theresa May as "inadequate", Amarinder Singh on Friday demanded "an unequivocal official apology from Britain".
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is one of the darkest chapters in the history of India`s freedom struggle. The British government had put the official death toll at 379.