Push for cross-party support for Jallianwala Bagh apology

Event does not represent modern British values: motion

October 20, 2017 09:15 pm | Updated 09:20 pm IST - LONDON

Virendra Sharma

Virendra Sharma

Indian-origin Labour MP Virendra Sharma is urging British parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to come together to support his parliamentary motion pushing for a formal apology from the British government for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Mr. Sharma, the Labour MP for Ealing Southall, tabled the Early Day Motion — a formal parliamentary means for MPs to draw attention to an issue — earlier this week, and has so far attracted 8 signatories from across the political spectrum, including Labour, the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

“This event [the massacre] does not represent modern British values,” the motion says.

Mr. Sharma said he expected to garner further political support.

‘Historical fact’

“It’s not a question for any political party, it’s a historical fact that the people of Britain should know about. It hurt deeply then and it hurts deeply now,” he said.

While Mr. Sharma does not anticipate an immediate debate in the House of Commons on the issue, he said he planned to launch a number of other initiatives to raise awareness of the issue and the need for an apology and greater education through community events, as well as in the House of Commons.

“There are parts of the history that are unacceptable but which people must know about… its missing in large part from history books in this country,” he said.

The debate over the impact of the British Empire more widely has gained increasing prominence in the past year, with the focus on Brexit and Britain’s desire to expand beyond the European Union, with some harking back to the days of it being a great trading nation, and the Empire.

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