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Amritsar: ‘Jallianwala Bagh toll 57 more than recorded’

GNDU team updates 1919 massacre toll to 434 after two-year study

Amritsar: ‘Jallianwala Bagh toll 57 more than recorded’

More than a century has passed, but the ambiguity over the exact number of martyrs in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre continues to pique interest of researchers.



Tribune News Service

Neha Saini

Amritsar, April 13

More than a century has passed, but the ambiguity over the exact number of martyrs in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre continues to pique interest of researchers. In the latest development, a research team of Jallianwala Bagh Chair at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has found that 57 more persons had died in the 1919 massacre.

Prof Amandeep Bal, who heads Jallianwala Bagh Chair at GNDU, Amritsar.

The official list released by the Punjab Government in 2021 had mentioned that 381 persons died in the incident, but four names were removed later due to duplication, leaving the count at 377. With the addition of 57 more names, the number now stands at 434.

Varied accounts & lists

  • Punjab Govt’s official list in 2021 mentioned 381 died in the incident, but four names were removed due to duplication, leaving the count at 377
  • The Hunter Commission, constituted in October 1919, put the figure at 379
  • According to British government estimates, 381 persons died and 1,200 were injured in the massacre

For the past two years, Dr Amandeep Kaur Bal, chairperson, Jallianwala Bagh Chair, and Dr Dilbag Singh, had been working on the research project commissioned by the Punjab Government to identify, verify and document the number of dead and wounded in the tragedy. In the study carried out on the door-to-door basis across Punjab, Haryana and HP, researchers met the claimants and verified their supportive documents.

The research has been documented in the form of a book, which will be released at a commemorative event at the GNDU on April 16.

Earlier, researchers referred to three lists, with varied count of dead and wounded in the incident, said Dr Bal. “The first list, prepared by the British government in 1921, mentioned that 381 persons died, which was also documented at National Archives. The second list, which was unverified and called a ‘kaccha’ list, was prepared by the Amritsar DC’s office in 2008. It had 501 names with many marked as ‘unidentified’. Later, the list was pruned to 492,” she said. Another list by the Allahabad Sewa Samiti claimed that 530 persons had died in the incident.

“When we started our research, we referred to both — the list prepared by the British government and the one by the Punjab Government,” said Dr Bal. In 2021, Captain Amarinder Singh-led government had set up the Jallianwala Bagh Chair at the GNDU, to commission research on the count of martyrs. Later, an ‘official’ list of 492 martyrs was posted on its website, but the count was cut due to duplications in the list.

“We based our research after studying the compensation file from 1921, in which we found 57 names that were nowhere mentioned in any other list. We also found that although the British government did pay compensation to kin of the victims, not many families came forward to claim it.”

The duo will now continue their research to find out the exact number of persons injured in the incident.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Guru Nanak Dev University GNDU #Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar


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