British Prime Minister David Cameron , much against expectations, skirted a public apology during his visit to the Jallianwala Bagh on Wednesday for the 1919 massacre by the British army , but termed the incident as a "deeply shameful event in the British history".
In his words the British prime minister echoed the regrets earlier conveyed by Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Amritsar in 1997 who had called the massacre a "distressing episode", but, she said history could not be rewritten.
Cameron in the first serving prime minister to express his anguish over the incident that became a reprehensible symbol of the British brutality. His visit to the city is expected to fine-tune his relations with the Punjabi diaspora. Some of the Sikh organisations here have been demanding a public apology from the prime minister for the onerous British legacy of the colonial times.
He recorded on the visitors' book that "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."
"This was a deeply shameful event in British history and one that Winston Churchill rightly declared at the time as monstrous", he added..
Kulbhushan Verma, whose grandfather was among those killed in the firing at the Jallianwala Bagh, described Cameron's gesture far from adequate and regretted that he did not care to see the family members of those who were killed in the massacre.
Unlike the visit of Queen Elizabeth which was marred by public protests, there was no outcry on the prime minister's visit to the holy city.
From the Jallianwala Bagh he drove to the Golden Temple where SGPC president Avtar Singh Maskkar, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and other senior functionaries honoured the British dignitary.