Published on: April 15, 2023

Jallianwala Bagh massacre

Jallianwala Bagh massacre

Why in news? Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Day 2023 marks 104 years since the tragic incident that is seen as a turning point in Indian History.


  • The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Day, observed every year on 13 April, is observed as a reminder of one of the darkest days in the struggle for Indian Independence.

What happened at Jallianwala Bagh?

  • April 13 saw celebrations for the Sikh festival of Baisakhi, which marks the onset of Spring and the harvest of winter crops.
  • Simultaneously, the movement for independence from British rule had been steadily gaining ground in recent years, and an event was held at Jallianwala Bagh to defy colonial orders and protest against the recently passed Rowlatt Bills.
  • These Bills curtailed the civil liberties of Indians and let colonial forces arrest people without any warrant or trial.
  • One of the Acts was pushed through the Legislative Council ignoring objections of elected Indian representatives, leading to resentment among Indians.
  • Some violent protests had been witnessed in cities of Delhi, Bombay (now Mumbai) and Lahore as well, even as MK Gandhi called for the launch of a non-violent peaceful protest at the time.
  • The British military officer, General Dyer, on April 13, 1919 entered the Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) with his troops, where people had gathered to peacefully protest against the arrest of the two nationalist leaders, Satya Pal and Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew.
  • Without so much as a warning to the people to disperse, he ordered his troops to fire at the unarmed crowd. The onslaught lasted ten minutes till their ammunition was exhausted, after which the British soldiers left.

Significance of the Amritsar Massacre

  • Rabindranath Tagore, greatly disturbed by the incident, and in an act of protest against the British, renounced all titles awarded to him, including his knighthood.
  • On 13 March 1940, freedom fighter Udham Singh, who was present in the Bagh during the massacre and was injured as well, assassinated Michael O’Dwyer at the Caxton Hall in London.
  • The Indian government established the Hunter commission to investigate the incidents and disturbances caused in Punjab due to and soon after the massacre.
  • A museum was built in March 2019, known as Yaad-e-Jallian Museum, to put forth an authentic account of the massacre.