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Posted on Feb 20, 01:04PM | IBNS
Amritsar, Feb 20 : David Cameron on Wednesday became the first British Prime Minister in 94 years to visit the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in a public garden in Amritsar in Punjab, expressing remorse and paying his homage to the people who died in the firing by British-ruled India soldiers on peaceful demonstration on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on April 13, 1919.
Cameron called the event of 1919 a "deeply shameful event in British history " and became the first British PM to express regret over the incident of bygone era that had further ignited the freedom movement in India.
"This was a deeply shameful act in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as 'monstrous.' We must never forget what happened here and we must ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests," Cameron wrote in the visitors' book at the memorial site.
The firing was ordered by General R.E.H. Dyer on an unarmed gathering of men, women, and children without warning.
During his visit to Punjab he also paid his respects at the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
The three-day visit of Cameron to India concluded on Wednesday.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and David Cameron on Tuesday reviewed the entire expanse of bilateral relations between the two countries.
This is Cameron's second trip to India which comes in when the nation is caught up in the alleged scam involving kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore purchase deal of VVIP choppers from UK based AugustaWestland, the Anglo-Italian helicopter company owned by Italy's Finmeccanica.
Singh said he took up the issue with the Prime Minister of UK during their meeting.
"I also conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron our very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for Agusta Westland helicopters. I told him that we have sought an explanation from the company by February 22 to examine if the contractual provisions on unethical practices and the Integrity Pact have been violated," said the Indian PM.
"I have sought full assistance from the U.K. in this case. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of the cooperation of his Government in the investigations," he said.