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Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes for 1919 massacre in India

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 11:23 am EDT

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rev. Justin Welby, prostrates as he pays respect at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar, India, on Sept. 10, 2019. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Photo/Prabhjot Gill

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.”

When asked if he would seek an apology from the British government, 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.

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