CHANDIGARH: Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore has declined to attend the birthday celebration of the Queen of England, being organised here on Wednesday evening by the British Deputy High Commission, citing the 100th anniversary of the "emotive issue" of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on April 13.
Badnore, who was invited for the event as a special guest, wrote a letter this evening to British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Ayre, citing his inability to attend the function.
The governor, who is also the administrator of Union Territory Chandigarh, wrote, "Thank you very much for the invite as a special guest at Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday party this evening at your residence. Let me wish Her Majesty, a long life and good health."
But, he added, he could not attend the event as it was being organised just days ahead of the 100th anniversary of the brutal massacre at 'Jallianwala Bagh' in Amritsar.
The governor, however, mentioned the good relations that the two nations enjoy after India got its independence from the British rule.
"We have been supporting each other in diverse fields of mutual interest, such as business, trade, education etc. Bilateral economic ties between the two are strong, vibrant and wide-ranging. India is the second-largest investor in Britain and Britain too is once of the largest investors in India," he wrote.
He further mentioned the British Minister Mark Field's response to a debate in the British House of Commons, expressing "deep regrets" for the massacre and that the issue pertaining to an apology was a "work in progress".
"Even the British Prime Minister Theresa May has termed the 'Jallianwala Bagh' tragedy 'a shameful scar'," the governor wrote.
"In the wake of the above, it may not be appropriate for me to be present on this occasion as 'Jallianwala Bagh' has always been a very emotive issue in Punjab," he mentioned.
On Wednesday, May too had stopped short of making a formal apology.
The massacre happened on Baisakhi in 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Dyer fired machine guns at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration, leaving several dead and scores injured.