London's plain-speaking mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday said it was time for the British government to make a "full and formal apology" to India for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre almost a century ago as he visited Amritsar. "Although our two great countries now have a close relationship in business, culture, education and more, an apology from the British Government will go a long way in healing the wounds left by this terrible event".
The British Government has never extended a formal apology for the massacre, which killed hundreds of people and injured many more. His grandparents migrated from India to Pakistan, and his parents moved to London in the 1906s, where he was born. "The British government rightly condemned the events at the time", said a spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Khan, on his maiden visit to Amritsar, paid tribute to those who died at the sprawling grounds in the city. The memorial was inaugurated in 1961 and serves as a way to remember those who died and were injured in the massacre.
While the meeting was underway, British army colonel Reginald Dyer entered the garden with his troops and ordered them to fire into the crowd. "Some people use the word massacre".
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh welcomed his suggestion.
Reacting to his remarks, Singh tweeted, "I'm sure that such an act would, to some extent, assuage the wounds of Indians who suffered the turmoil of the struggle for independence".
Earlier this morning in Amritsar, Sadiq Khan also visited Sri Harmandir Sahib, often known as The Golden Temple, which is the most important pilgrimage site of Sikhism.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan places a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar on December 6.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee gave Khan a "siropa" (robe of honor) during the visit. "The Golden Temple is a spiritual home for tens of thousands of Londoners of the Sikh faith and millions of Sikhs around the world come to Amritsar to pay their respects to worship", he said while talking to the reporters.
His visit was part of his first official tour to three Indian cities and three Pakistan cities-Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad-to promote the British capital's resilience and strengths post-Brexit.
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