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Current Affairs 13 April 2019 Digest 2: 100 years of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre; India to be Guest of Honour at ADIBF 2019

The Year 2019 marks 100 years of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, a "shameful scar" on India-British relations. India will be the Guest of Honour country at the 2019 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) to be held during April 24-30, 2019.

Apr 13, 2019 13:16 IST
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Story 1: 100 years of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

The Year 2019 marks 100 years of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Amritsar Massacre that occurred on April 13, 1919.  The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is remembered as a "shameful scar" on India-British relations.

On the fateful afternoon of April 13, 1919, the troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired ruthlessly into a crowd of Indian civilians gathered at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. The massacre is remembered as one of the deadliest attacks in Indian history.

What led to the massacre?

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was the result of the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919, famously known as the Rowlatt Act.

The Act came into force a month before the massacre. It shocked most Indians who had expected to be rewarded, not punished, for willingly fighting alongside the British in the First World War. The Act allowed political cases to be tried without jury, and imprisonment of suspects without trial.

This was the time when Mahatma Gandhi came to light. The Act resulted in furious protests throughout the country.  Gandhi started a campaign against Rowlatt Act. There were violent protests that resulted in the burning of the Town Hall and Railway station, disruption of telegraphs and communication system.

As part of these protests, thousands of people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab on April 13, 1919. The civilians assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew. That was also the day of Sikh festival Baisakhi and many villagers had also gathered in the Bagh.

Under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer, over 50 troops of the British Indian Army began firing rifles into the crowd. The narrow exits from the bagh were blocked; no one could escape the ill-fated incidence. Over 1200 got injured and more than 350 people died. Some of them jumped into the well in the bagh to escape dying by the bullets.

As per the records of the British Government, the massacre killed 379 and caused 1200 injuries. However, as per the Indian Nation Congress, around 1000 died and 1500 got injured.

The bullet marks can be still seen on the walls of the Jallianwala Bagh which is now a national memorial.

The massacre aroused the fury of the Indian people and the British Indian government replied with more intense brutalities. People in Punjab were made to crawl on the streets; they were put in open cages.

Aftermath of the massacre

Following the massacre, the Hunter Commission was appointed to investigate into the matter. The Commission in 1920 held Dyer guilty for his actions. He was relieved of his command and prematurely retired from the army.

Udham Singh, a Punjabi revolutionary, killed Michael O’ Dwyer, former Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, on March 13, 1940 in London in revenge for the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre. He was subsequently convicted and hanged in July 1940.

Bengali poet and Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore renounced the knighthood he had received in 1915.

The massacre marked the start of a new rebellion and liberation struggle under Mahatma Gandhi to free India from the British rule.

Story 2: India to be Guest of Honour at ADIBF 2019

India will be the Guest of Honour country at the 2019 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) to be held during April 24-30, 2019.

The fair aims to highlight the UAE’s rich heritage, and showcase its authenticity, cultural and literary output. This will be the 29th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Through India’s participation in the fair, the UAE expects to witness significant increase in the number of visitors in various events and activities that will be held throughout the entire duration of ADIBF. A number of activities in the fields of literature, culture, and art are expected to engage the audience.  

Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi, said,  “India’s selection as the Guest of Honour at the book fair underscores the deep ties between India and the Arab world and the long-standing UAE-India relationship.”
 
Significance

The Indian Pavilion will host writers, authors and literary scholars who will serve as ambassadors for the literature and art of their country.

The book fair will celebrate India, with its authentic culture, arts, heritage and knowledge-based traditions.

India’s participation will provide a chance for investors to explore and capitalise on opportunities offered by Indian groups and publishers present in the Gulf region.  

UAE honoured PM Modi with Zayed Medal

Recently on April 4, 2019, the UAE honoured PM Narendra Modi with its highest decoration, Zayed Medal in recognition of his "pivotal role" in strengthening ties between the two nations.

India-UAE bilateral relations

India-UAE bilateral relations grew warm and strong after Prime Minister Modi paid a visit to the nation in 2015. Later, the Crown Prince visited India in 2017 as the Chief Guest for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

Lately, the visit of the PM Modi to UAE in February 2018 helped in providing impetus to the relations. During the visit, both sides set an ambitious target of USD 100 billion in bilateral trade by the year 2020.

India and UAE are one of the largest trade partners for each other and have made robust investments bilaterally with bilateral trade amounting to almost USD 50 billion in 2017.

The UAE accounts for 8 percent of India's oil imports and is the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India.

The country is also a part of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which is headquartered in Gurugram, India and hosts a 3.3 million-strong Indian community, which amounts to the largest number of Indians outside India.

Indians also make up the largest ethnic group in the UAE making up roughly 27 percent of the total UAE`s residents.

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