British Prime Minister David Cameron in India visited the site of one of Britain’s worst-ever massacre of civilians during the colonial era. There he became the first UK leader to express regret over the Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) massacre, but he stopped just short of apologizing.
Cameron wrote in the site’s visitor’s book, "This is a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at the time as 'monstrous'. We must never forget what happened here. And in remembering we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the right of peaceful protest around the world."
Later when asked why he failed make a public apology, Cameron said, "I don't think the right thing is to reach back into history and to seek out things you can apologize for".
In 1919, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on peaceful, unarmed protesters in the city of Amritsar he said to "teach a moral lesson to the Punjab". The official colonial report said 379 people were killed, but Indian figures put the death toll at around 1,000 lives lost.
Historians have long corroborated Mohandas Gandhi’s view that the massacre and ensuing public disgust had shaken the foundations of the British Empire both home and abroad, and led millions to follow the Mahatma’s peaceful protest path to Indian Independence in 1947.
Cameron’s failure to go all the way is not sitting well with many Indians. "We have been waiting for justice from the British and Indian government for 94 years," said 36-year old Kapoor, "If they think it's shameful, why shouldn't they apologize? "