Don’t pre-empt my statement on 1919 massacre: UK Archbishop

Kolkata, September 8

Archbishop of Canterbury Rev Justin Welby on Sunday said he would make a statement on the “dreadful” Jallianwala Bagh massacre when he visits Amritsar next week, but insisted that it should not be “pre-empted”.

Welby, who was in Kolkata as part of his 10-day India tour, said he would travel to Jalliwanwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, on Tuesday.

“I did make a statement on the anniversary of this dreadful massacre. I will make another statement on Tuesday. I think it is important that is not pre-empted,” he told reporters at the Bishop’s House here. On the 100th anniversary of the tragedy in April, the Archbishop of Canterbury had said in a tweet that “as British people, we can’t avoid this shameful part of our colonial legacy”.

Welby said that being a religious leader, he had no political authority to offer anything on behalf of the UK. “What I will be saying will be in my capacity as a religious leader,” the head of the Anglican Communion said.

The massacre took place at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar during the Baisakhi festival on April 13, 1919 when the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer opened fire at a crowd staging a pro-independence demonstration, leaving scores dead. — PTI

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