Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar City, dated 13 April 1919, a few minutes before sunset.
On that day, 15,000 to 25,000 people gathered in Jallianwala Bagh. Suddenly people heard a strange sound. An airplane flew low over the garden. He had a flag on one arm. They had never seen an airplane before.
Some people saw it and thought it was good to leave.
Suddenly people heard the sound of heavy boots from behind and in seconds 50 soldiers appeared from the narrow path of Jallianwala Bagh which formed a ‘formation’ of two and started spreading on both sides at high places.
A section of the crowd shouted: ‘Come on, come on’. And they got up to leave. Then a voice came, “Sit down, sit down, the bullet will not go off.”
Firing without warning
At the same time, Brigadier Reginald Dyer shouted: “Gorkhas right, 59 left.”
Half of the 25 Gorkha and 25 Baloch soldiers took the ‘position’ by sitting and half by standing. Dyer immediately ordered: “Fire.”
The soldiers opened fire, firing indiscriminately, and people all around began to fall.
Soldiers on their knees were selectively hitting. None of their bullets were lost. Dyer then ordered them to reload their guns and fire at the crowded area.
He did not even leave those who went to bed
People started running around in a world of fear. But they could not find a way out.
Everyone was on the narrow street and trying to get out. Dyer’s troops targeted them. The bodies began to fall. The backs of the boats sank.
Many tried to escape by climbing the wall but were shot by soldiers. Some ex-soldiers in the crowd shouted and told people to lie down. But even these people were not spared by the Gorkha who had already taken the position lying down.
Sergeant Anderson, who was standing next to General Dyer, later told the Hunter Committee: “At first it seemed as if the whole crowd had gathered on the ground.”
“Then we saw some people trying to climb the high walls. A moment later I looked at Captain Briggs’ face. I felt like they were in a lot of pain. ‘
Briggs tried to stop Dyer
Former Indian Ambassador to the United States Notij Sarna has done extensive research on Jallianwala Bagh and has written several books on the history of Punjab.
“There’s a mention that one of Dyer’s fellow burgers grabbed him by the elbow and shook his shirt, as if to say he’s done enough,” says Notting Sarna.
But Dyer ignored them. An English SP, Rachel, was also present. He testified before the Hunter Committee that there was dust and blood due to people running in the air.
“If someone had been shot in the eye, someone’s stomach had come out. We did not see the massacre and came out of the garden.
Rachel’s niece then wrote a diary in which she wrote, “After this incident, her first personality disappeared and she started drinking heavily.”
Continue firing for ten minutes. Dyer’s troops fired 1,650 rounds.
Marks on poplar trees and walls
Kapil Dev Malviya, author of the book ‘Open Rebellion in Punjab’ on Jallianwala Bagh, writes in one place: ‘Madan Moho, the 13-year-old son of a local doctor, used to go to Jallianwala Bagh every day to play with his friends. He was shot that day and his skull was blown off.
Dozens of people hid behind the trunk of a large poplar tree while running. Dyer ordered his troops to target the poplar tree.
“A lot of people were trying to climb the high walls on the edge of the garden. Dyer turned his shotgun on himself when apprehended by a police officer on the porch of the house where the shootings took place.
The child was thrown across the wall
Bharpur Singh was only four years old on April 13, 1919. But he will remember the events of that day forever.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: ‘I went to Jallianwala Bagh with my grandfather that day. As soon as the shots were fired, my grandfather picked me up and started running towards the wall. When they thought there was no way out, they threw me across a seven-foot-high wall.
“My arm was broken when I fell down, but I survived to tell that story. We did not go to the hospital for several days even in this condition, because we were afraid that we would be oppressed again.
No medical help
As soon as the firing was ordered to stop, the soldiers moved out as fast as they could.
Dyer jumped into his car and headed for Ram Bagh. His soldiers followed him on foot.
No medical aid was received for the victims of the shooting in Jallianwala Bagh that night. Nor were people allowed to take their dead and wounded off the field.
The painful story of Ratan Devi
“Ratan Devi’s house was so close to Jallianwala Bagh that she heard gunshots from her bedroom,” says Kishore Desai, author of the popular book Jallianwala Bagh – A True Story.
She ran to the garden in a state of despair. There was a pile of corpses in front of them. She started looking for her husband. While removing the bodies, all of a sudden her eyes fell on her husband’s dead body.
After a while, he saw Lala Sundar’s two sons coming. He asked her to somehow bring a bed so that her body could be taken home. He promised help but did not return.
No shortage of water
Kishore Desai added: ‘Ratan Devi asked a Sikh man to help her move her husband’s body to a dry place, because where his body was, there was blood all around. Was
He grabbed her body by the head and Ratan Devi by the feet and laid him down on a piece of wood. They waited until ten o’clock at night. But no one came.
She spent the night with her dead husband’s head in her lap. He had a cane in one hand to repel dogs that sniffed blood.
He saw a 12-year-old boy lying next to him, who was seriously injured. They asked her if she would take off her clothes. The boy said no, but don’t leave me. “Where will I leave my husband?” She asked.
After a while the boy said I need water. But there was not a drop of water. After a while, Ratan Devi stopped hearing her groans.
Eagles hovering over corpses
By morning the eagles began to fly over the garden to get food. The bodies began to rot quickly due to the heat.
Lala Nathu Ram, a 35-year-old contractor, told the Congress inquiry committee: “I went out to look for my son and brother. I had to work hard to keep my turban on my head, because the eagles were attacking my head with their beaks in an attempt to get meat.
Three months after the incident, when the Congress delegation arrived for the investigation, there was still the stench of corpses in the air.
Power outages across the city
Meanwhile, after the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, General Dyer reached his camp around 6.30 pm. They cut off electricity and water to the entire city.
At ten o’clock at night he visited the city again to see if his order not to leave the house was being obeyed.
What could be more cruel than the fact that people’s children, relatives and elders were suffering or dying in Jallianwala Bagh and people were not even allowed to come out to help them.
Dyer didn’t see a single person on the street that night, but the whole city was awake and there was an ominous senate.
Dyer was given a clean chit by the House of Lords
Initially, the British government did not take any notice of the massacre, but when the news broke, they formed a Hunter Committee to investigate.
“The report of the Hunter Committee was a unanimous report and another was a minority report,” he said. Both sides called Dyer wrong, but to what extent, there were differences between the two. But he did not say anything to Lieutenant Governor of Punjab Michael O’Dwyer.
The British government asked Dyer to resign. The issue was hotly debated in the House of Commons, where it was determined that what Dyer did was completely wrong. But the House of Lords reversed that. And he told the British government that he had done injustice to Dyer.
Controversial death toll
The Hunter Committee acknowledged that 379 people were killed in the shooting, including 337 men and 41 children.
That night, when Dyer sent his report to the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, O Dyer, he said that about 200 people had been killed.
But Kishore Desai says: ‘Many eyewitnesses say that at least a thousand people were killed and about four or five thousand were injured. There were some who did not die in the garden but went home and died.
People did not know how many people died, because there was an atmosphere of fear. It was being said by the British that if you were present in Jallianwala Bagh, you had betrayed the government. That’s why people weren’t saying that any of our relatives were killed or injured.
Our ‘Art and Cultural Heritage Trust’ and ‘Partition Museum’ have thoroughly examined all the files of the deceased. We have fully ‘confirmed’ the names of the 502 victims.
In addition, there were 45 bodies lying in the garden and they could not be identified. We can say with confidence that at least 547 people were killed in this ‘tragedy’.
Protest of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore
Protesting against the incident, Mahatma Gandhi returned all his medals. Rabindranath Tagore wrote a letter to Viceroy Chelmsford returning the Knighthood title.
The gulf that then arose between the Indians and the British could never be bridged and 28 years after this incident the British had to leave India.