The Amritsar Massacre, and the effects it caused.

by Ben Alford

The Amritsar Massacre, and the effects it caused.

• On 13 April General Dyer ordered his Gurkha troops to open fire on an crowed of unarmed protesters in the Jallianwallah Bagh, a very enclosed space in the holy city of Amritsar.

• The troops kept firing until their ammunition ran out, killing 379 people and injuring more than 1100, according to the British authorities. However historians now put the number up to 2000+.

• The massacre lead to 500 students and teachers being arrested; some were imprisoned in the market place.

• As a result of the massacre a British woman was assaulted by youths and they knocked her off her
bicycle. In retaliation General Dyer ordered Indians who walked down the street where the attacked took place, to crawl on all fours.


What were the effects of the massacre?

One of the main result of the massacre was that Indians who had previously been loyal to the British Empire lost all faith in the British justice system in place and joined the campaigns for independence.

• The high level of violence led Gandhi called off his current campaign of civil disobedience.

• General Dyer was ordered back to Britain and his terrible actions were investigated by the Hunter Committee.

• General Dyer’s excuse is that he believed that he had stopped a great rebellion, however this was not accepted and his behaviour was condemned and he was asked to resign.

• However in the House of Lords led to a majority vote of 121 -86 in his favour and a news paper the ‘Morning Post’ raised him £23,000,they also described him as The man who saved India’.

• General Dyer was indeed rewarded for his actions by being presented with an elaborately jewelled sword engraved with the controversial words ‘Saviour of the Punjab’.

• The actions of General Dyer were bad enough, however the failure of the British courts to act quickly and censure him convinced many Indians that misrepresented the truth about British policy.

However only 2.8% on Indians could vote furthermore after the Rowlatt Acts and indeed the Amritsar, this was too little too late.

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