London Mayor calls for apology to people of Amritsar for Jallianwala Bagh

London mayor Sadiq Khan helps prepare food in the community kitchen of the Golden Temple in Amritsar

London mayor Sadiq Khan helps prepare food in the community kitchen of the Golden Temple in Amritsar

Amritsar: The British government should apologise for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Wednesday, calling it a tragedy one "must never forget". It is wrong that successive British governments have fallen short of delivering a formal apology to the families of those who were killed. "Our thoughts are with all those who died". Cameron defended his decision to not offer a formal apology by saying: "So I don't think the right thing is to reach back into history and to seek out things you can apologise for". Khan, on his maiden visit to Amritsar, paid tributes to those who died at the sprawling ground in the city."The British government should apologize for the Jallianwala Bagh shootings".

Khan, who represents Britain's opposition Labour party, later entered Pakistan via the Wagah border crossing between the two countries.

In 1997, Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath at Jallianwala Bagh during a tour of India.

Earlier in the day he visited the Golden Temple, the most revered place for the Sikh religion, where he covered his head with a white cloth and sat cross-legged on the floor to eat at the community kitchen.

Over the years, several MPs and politicians of Indian and South Asian-origin have asked the United Kingdom government to offer an apology to the Indian people but members of the royal family and British premiers have never gone that far during their visits to India. The statement comes after Khan's visit to Amritsar on Thursday where he said the British government should apologise for the mass killing.

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Punjabi-origin Sharma has been campaigning for an apology over the years.

A Japanese steamship with 376 passengers, mostly Sikh migrants, had not been allowed to dock in Vancouver. Hundreds were killed by British soldiers in the 1919 atrocity.

The British monarchy and the United Kingdom government have so far not issued a formal apology over Jallianwala Bagh. "We must never forget what happened here and we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the right of peaceful protests".

Former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron visited Amritsar at the end of a trade mission to India four years ago in a show of contrition over the massacre but stopped short of making a formal apology.

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