Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – A Rememberence

via Ajit.V.Gupta published on April 13, 2011

1919

Thousands of Indian’s assembled in a garden surrounded by buildings. The garden had only one entrance

Reason – to hear political speeches and to celebrate baisakhi

A ‘general’ marches around a hundred troops, armoured, gun fitted vehicles …. (Vehicles had to remain outside as they couldn’t enter)

He blocks the sole entrance … and without warning … orders the troops to fire their ammunition to the masses …

Approx 1650 rounds are pumped onto defenceless unarmed masses …… on Indians who came just to listen to some speech …
• 1 round = one magazine of bullets … those days it was approx 32 bullets per one round …..• Shooting goes on for nearly 15 minutes
• From time to time he checked his fire and directed it towards where the crowd was more …• Some of the soldiers initially shot into the air, at which General Dyer shouted: “Fire low. What have you been brought here for?”

This ‘general’ only stopped after he had no more ammunition left ..

In his own testimony

“ The worst part of the whole thing was that the firing was directed towards the exit gates through which the people were running out. There were small 3 or 4 outlets in all and bullets were actually rained over the people at all these gates… and many got trampled under the feet of the rushing crowds and thus lost their lives… even those who lay flat on the ground were fired upon. “

Death caused by bullets, by stampede, by some people trying to escape fell into the lone well. More than 1500.Some succumbed to injuries overnight as he had ordered a curfew after this.

Back in his headquarters, he reported to his superiors that he had been “confronted by a revolutionary army”.

His name was Reginald Edward Harry Dyer.

The Place – Jallianwala Bagh
The killed – Indians who supported the freedom movement.

The day after this he issued an Urdu statement

“”You people know well that I am a Sepoy and soldier. Do you want war or peace? If you wish for a war, the Government is prepared for it, and if you want peace, then obey my orders and open all your shops; else I will shoot. For me the battlefield of France or Amritsar is the same. I am a military man and I will go straight. Neither shall I move to the right nor to the left. Speak up, if you want war? In case there is to be peace, my order is to open all shops at once. You people talk against the Government and persons educated in Germany and Bengal talk sedition. I shall report all these. Obey my orders. I do not wish to have anything else. I have served in the military for over 30 years. I understand the Indian Sepoy and Sikh people very well. You will have to obey my orders and observe peace. Otherwise the shops will be opened by force and Rifles. You will have to report to me of the Badmash. I will shoot them. Obey my orders and open shops. Speak up if you want war? You have committed a bad act in killing the English. The revenge will be taken upon you and upon your children.”

After his act – he was rewarded in a function held in Britain. Brigadier Dyer was presented with a purse of 26,000 pounds sterling, a huge sum in those days, which emerged from a collection on his behalf by the Morning Post, a conservative, pro-Imperialistic newspaper, which later merged with the Daily Telegraph.

A Thirteen Women Committee was constituted to present “the Savior of the Punjab with sword of honor and a purse.

Crawling order

Brigadier Dyer designated the spot where Miss Marcella Sherwood was assaulted sacred and daytime pickets were placed at either end of the street. Anyone wishing to proceed in the street between 6am and 8pm was made to crawl the 200 yards (180 m) on all fours, lying flat on their bellies. The order was not required at night due to a curfew. The order effectively closed the street.

The houses did not have any back doors and the inhabitants could not go out without climbing down from their roofs. This order was in effect from 19 April until 25 April 1919. No doctor or supplier was allowed in, resulting in the sick being unattended.

Death

On his death bed, Dyer reportedly refused the gentle and comforting words of his care giver and said:

“Thank you, but I don’t want to get better. 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.”

—Reginald Dyer on his death bed quoted in The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer by Nigel Collette

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