Home News INDIAN NEWS SPECIAL: Clarkson Misses Gear on Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

SPECIAL: Clarkson Misses Gear on Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

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Mr Anil Bhanot, founding member of Hindu Council UK, says Clarkson lacks compassion to gauge the feelings of others… reports Asian Lite News

Jeremy Clarkson

Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson draws his comments on Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Portal Welby for his apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

In an article appeared on the Sunday Times on September 15, Mr Clarskson said: For God’s sake, archbishop, get off your belly. We’re not to blame for the sins of our forefathers.”

Mr Anil Bhanot, founding member of Hindu Council UK, says Clarkson lacks compassion to gauge the feelings of others. In the article Mr Clarkson compared the Amritsar massacre with the atrocities of Mangolians and other tyrants.

“Jeremy Clarkson completely misses the point of the Archbishop’s apology which would go a long way to ease the pain of many families today still trying to reconcile how their loved ones were butchered by what was a sheer colonial contempt for fellow humans,” Mr Bhanot said in a statement.

“Clarkson seems not only to be defending his forefathers by giving examples of a multitude of other such atrocities across the world but not to appreciate the grace in the Archbishop’s apology he undermines what it is to be human. We need more compassion from each other as we begin to respect all humanity in this increasingly globalised village and less of this intellectualising life in a machine driven gear he is no doubt quite adept at.”

The massacre took place in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on Baisakhi in April 1919 when the British Indian Army troops, under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer, fired machine guns at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration.

According to the British government records, 379 people, including men, women and children were killed and around 1200 injured in the firing.

Archbishop Welby expressed grief and prayed for healing of agony, loss and anger on his visit to the Jallianwala Bagh, a remembrance of the British era massacre.

“I feel a deep sense of grief, humility and profound shame having visited the site of the horrific #JallianwalaBagh massacre in Amritsar today. Here, a great number of Sikhs — as well as Hindus, Muslims and Christians — were shot dead by British troops in 1919,” he tweeted.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in India

In another tweet, he said his first response is to pray to god for healing for those still suffering grief, loss and anger. “And prayer means I must also commit to actions that bridge divides of culture and religion — that together we can root out hatred and seek the common good.”

Archbishop Welby expressed grief and prayed for healing of agony, loss and anger on his visit to the Jallianwala Bagh, a remembrance of the British era massacre.

“I feel a deep sense of grief, humility and profound shame having visited the site of the horrific #JallianwalaBagh massacre in Amritsar today. Here, a great number of Sikhs — as well as Hindus, Muslims and Christians — were shot dead by British troops in 1919,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he said his first response is to pray to god for healing for those still suffering grief, loss and anger. “And prayer means I must also commit to actions that bridge divides of culture and religion — that together we can root out hatred and seek the common good.”

Former prime ministers Theresa May and David Cameron also expressed “near apology” for the British role in the massacre. Mrs May described the Jallianwala Bagh massacre as a “shameful scar” on British Indian history but stopped short of a formal apology sought by a cross-section of Parliament in previous debates.

In a statement, marking the 100th anniversary of the massacre, at the start of her weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, she reiterated the “regret” already expressed by the British Government.

“The tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh of 1919 is a shameful scar on British Indian history. As Her Majesty the Queen (Elizabeth II) said before visiting Jallianwala Bagh in 1997, it is a distressing example of our past history with India,” she said in her statement.

“We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused. I am pleased that today the UK-India relationship is one of collaboration, partnership, prosperity and security. Indian diaspora make an enormous contribution to British society and I am sure the whole House wishes to see the UK’s relationship with India continue to flourish,” she said.

Mr Cameron described the massacre as “a deeply shameful event in British history”.

Writing in the memorial book of condolence during a visit to India, he added: “We must never forget what happened here.”

He later defended his decision not to offer a formal apology saying the British government had “rightly condemned” the massacre at the time.

“I don’t think the right thing is to reach back into history and to seek out things that we should apologise for. I think the right thing to do is to acknowledge what happened, to recall what happened, to show respect and understanding for what happened,” he added.

But the opposition Labour party is seeking a formal apology from the government. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said that those who lost their lives in the massacre deserve a “full, clear and unequivocal apology for what took place”.

The debate took place at Parliament when Conservative MP Bob Blackman called on the British government to apologise.

“General Dyer was vigorously defended by – I say this with shame – the Conservative party, as well as most of the military establishment. He evaded any penalties post inquiry, as his military superiors advised that they could find no fault with his actions, his orders, or his conduct otherwise,” Blackman said, in reference to the British general who had ordered the shooting at a Baisakhi gathering in Amritsar 100 years ago.

Mr Blackman also sought that children in British schools should be taught about the tragedy because people should know what happened in Britain’s name and that “saying sorry – apologising for this massacre – is the right thing to do”.

 

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