Archbishop of Canterbury apologises for Amritsar Massacre on 100th anniversary

Associated Press
Justin Welby prostrated himself in a gesture of apology - AFP

The archbishop of Canterbury said Tuesday he regrets a massacre by British colonial forces of hundreds of Indians participating in a peaceful demonstration for independence 100 years ago.

Archbishop Justin Welby spoke at a memorial for victims of the attack in northwest India.

The massacre took place at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, when the British Indian Army opened fire at a crowd demonstrating for independence, killing more than 300 and injuring 1,200.

"I am so ashamed and sorry for the impact of this crime committed here. As a religious leader, I mourn the tragedy I see here," the archbishop said.

He said he could not speak on the behalf of the British government, but he was "personally very sorry for this terrible atrocity."

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed his personal sorrow Credit: NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

When asked if he would seek an apology from the British government, Mr Welby said, "I think I have been very clear about what I feel and that will be broadcast in England," the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

In April, then British Prime Minister Theresa May called the killings a "shameful scar" in British-Indian history but stopped short of a formal apology.