MEMORY Pays tributes to those killed in the massacre; pitches for reconciliation
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby prostrates in front of the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar on Tuesday. The principal leader of the Church of England, who is also the head of the Anglican Communion, said the 1919 massacre ‘provokes feeling of profound shame’.
Amritsar: archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the head of the Anglican Communion, said on Tuesday he was “ashamed and sorry” as a religious leader as well as a Christian for the killing of peaceful people by the British Indian Army at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on April 13, 1919.
Accompanied by his wife Caroline, Welby along with local Christian leaders and others visited the garden to pay tributes to those killed in the carnage.
“It is a feeling of profound shame to visit this place that witnessed such atrocities a hundred years ago. My first response is to pray for healing of the relatives, descendants of the victims besides our relationship with India and its wonderful people. That prayer renews in me a desire to act so that together we may learn from history, root out hatred, promote reconciliation and seek the common good globally,” he wrote on the visitor’s book in the garden.
Earlier, he bowed his head and closed his eyes before the ‘Amar Jyoti’, the torch lighted in the martyrs’ memory. He also looked at the bullets marks on the walls and other places.
Also, he prostrated before the martyrs’ memorial and offered prayers. “I can’t speak on behalf of the British government as I am not its official. I am a religious leader, not a politician. But I can speak in the name of Christ. It is a place for sin and redemption. Because you remember what they have done. As religious leader, I mourn the tragedy we see here,” he told the gathering.
Asked if he will ask British government to offer an apology for the massacre, he said, “I have been very clear what I feel and it will be broadcast in England.”
Later, he tweeted, “Here, a number of Sikhs – as well as Hindus, Muslims and Christians – were shot dead by British troops in 1919 (sic).”
“... I recognise the sins of British colonial history, the ideology that too often subjugated and dehumanised other races and cultures. Jesus Christ calls us to turn away from sin and to turn to Him as Lord. We are called to not just repent of old ways but to intentionally live in a new way that seeks the Kingdom of God here on earth,” he said.
I can’t speak on behalf of the British government as I am not its official. I am a religious leader, not a politician. But I can speak in the name of Christ. It is a place for sin and redemption.
JUSTIN WELBY, Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife being showered with petals during a visit to Christ Church Cathedral at Ram Bagh in Amritsar on Tuesday; and (below) The archbishop being honoured by Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh (2R) and others after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple.