New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: More than 100 years have passed but the Jallianwala Bagh massacre continues to be the black spot in the history of India as General Reginald Dyer had ordered his troops to open fire at a crowd of unarmed civilians on April 13, 1919, on the joyous festival of Baisakhi.

Thousands of men, women and children had gathered at Amritsar's famous Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919, to celebrate Baisakhi. However, little did they knew that the British Raj had banned gatherings then. General Dyer ordered his troops to surround the area and open fire at the crowd, killing scores.

As per the official figures given by the British government, more than 350 people lost their lives while thousands were severely injured. However, Congress claimed that over 1,000 people were killed in the incident.

General Dyer later defended himself and said that he ordered his troops to fire "not to disperse the meeting but to punish the Indians for disobedience". Many leaders in the British government also hailed Dyer.

However, several, including former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, criticised Dyer's actions. "The crowd was unarmed, except with bludgeons. It was not attacking anybody or anything… When the fire had been opened upon it to disperse it, it tried to run away," Churchill had said.

Later, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi condemned the attack and renounced their British Knighthood and Kaiser-i-Hind medal respectively.

What happened to Dyer?

Following the incident, General Dyer was removed from duty after the Hunter Commission submitted its report. Dyer's deed even earned him the name, "the Butcher of Amritsar". He died on July 23, 1927, of a cerebral haemorrhage.

"So many people who knew the condition of Amritsar say I did right...but so many others say I did wrong. I only want to die and know from my Maker whether I did right or wrong," he had reportedly said on his deathbed.

Years have passed since then but the dar memories of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre continue to be a black spot in Indian history. On the 102nd anniversary of the massacre, we at English Jagran pay homage to all those who lost their lives in the deadly incident.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma