World News

Britain's Cameron Lays Wreath at Indian Massacre Site

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed regret over the massacre of hundreds of unarmed Indians by British colonial forces nearly a century ago, but he stopped short of a formal apology.

In a visit Wednesday to the northern Indian city of Amritsar, Mr. Cameron laid a wreath at a memorial in Jallianwala Bagh park to victims of the massacre.

In 1919, British troops opened fire on unarmed Indians at a rally at Jallianwala Bagh. British records show that more than 300 people died, while Indian figures put that number closer to 1,000.

In a visitors' book, Prime Minister Cameron wrote that the massacre was a "deeply shameful event in British history -- one that Winston Churchill rightly described at the time as 'monstrous'."

Before Mr. Cameron visited the site, Bhushan Behl, the head of an association of families of those killed in the massacre, said the prime minister should apologize to the families. Behl said many innocent people were killed in the incident.

Mr. Cameron is the first serving British prime minister to make a gesture of condolence at the site.



Queen Elizabeth II visited Jallianwala Bagh in 1997 and called the killings "distressing."

The Amritsar massacre galvanized India's independence movement and marked the beginning of the end of Britain's rule over the Indian subcontinent. British rule in the region ended in 1947.

Mr. Cameron's visit to Amritsar came at the end of his three-day trip to India aimed at boosting bilateral trade and investment.
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