Gurpreet Singh: Premier John Horgan presents Jallianwala Bagh massacre proclamation to Metro Vancouver activists
Close to 1,000 peaceful protestors were killed by British troops at Jallianwala Bagh public park in Amritsar, India on April 13, 1919.
The demonstrators had gathered in protest against the repressive laws and arrests of the leaders of the passive resistance movement against British occupation of India.
And on Thursday (April 11), this incident was recognized at the B.C. legislature when Premier John Horgan presented the Jallianwala Bagh massacre proclamation to well-known South Asian community activists.
Following sustained efforts of Mehak Punjab Di TV, Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, and Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI), April 13, 2019, has been proclaimed as “The Commemoration of the Centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Day”.
The bloody episode galvanized the freedom movement that culminated in the end of British rule in 1947.
The proclamation signed by the lieutenant-governor and attorney general was presented to Kamaljit Singh Thind of Mehak Punjab Dee TV, Sahib Thind of the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, and Parshottam Dosanjh of IAPI by Horgan at the premier’s office in Victoria.
Sahib Thind recently visited England to lobby for an apology for the massacre in the British Parliament. While British Prime Minister Theresa May has only expressed regret for the incident, Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked for full apology.
Thind met Corbyn personally to help him understand the importance of an apology. On the morning of Saturday, April 13, Thind along with his son Vishal and daughter Amna rose early at their home in Surrey to light candles in memory of the victims of massacre at about 5:07 a.m., the exact time of the firing at Jallianwala Bagh.
Likewise, Kamaljit Singh Thind started an online petition seeking a British apology for Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He is also instrumental behind annual vigils that are organized in Surrey every year in memory of the victims of Jallianwala Bagh incident and has been organizing exhibitions depicting the tragedy at Vaisakhi parades in Vancouver and Surrey.
Surrey–Green Timbers NDP MLA Rachna Singh was also present on the occasion.
Earlier in the day, Singh made a statement in the legislature in commemoration of the tragedy.
“While we must keep our history alive, we also need to stand up against state-sponsored brutality anywhere in the world.” she said.
She emphasized that the history of Jallianwala Bagh massacre reminds us of “our collective responsibility to carry forward the struggle for a just and humane world”.
On Saturday, April 13, Singh also spoke at the annual vigil organized by Mehak Punjab Di TV at Holland Park in Surrey. Kamaljit Singh Thind and his entire family was at the vigil where candles were lit in memory of the dead.
A moment of silence was observed at the start of the event to remember those killed at Jallianwala Bagh and those who were brutally murdered by Indian forces in post-British India. Among the speakers were former Burnaby school trustee Herman Pandher and antiracism activist and educator Annie Ohana.
They were joined by other local South Asian activists, including Parminder Swaich, Shahzaad Nazir Khan, Rakesh Kumar, Sarabjit Singh, Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, Kesar Singh Baghi, and Kuldeep Singh.