The arrest and deportation of Dr. Satyapal and Kitchlew enraged the public and protests were organised against their arrest. On account of the disturbed atmosphere, the government banned public meetings. The civil authority requisitioned military authority to take up the charge of Amritsar and General Dyer was put in charge. The administration prohibited the public meeting scheduled to be held on 13 April, the Baisakhi day. But the notice banning the meeting was not publicly proclaimed. Hence a public meeting was held on 13 April at 4.30 p.m. at Jallianawala Bagh to denounce the police atrocities.
General Dyer along with 150 troops marched through the main streets. The Bagh was surrounded by walls and buildings and had only one narrow passage for entry and exit. Dyer entered through the passage. Without warning the people to dispense, he ordered the troops to fire till the ammunition exhausted.
The people were trapped leading to an unprecedented butchery. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were wounded. Marital law as imposed in Punjab and reign of terror followed. Indiscriminate flooging, firing and bombing followed. The Jallianawala Bagh tragedy, was well described by C.F. Andrews as ” a cold and calculated massacre, an unspeakable disgrace, undefensible unpardonable and unexcusable.”This deliberate and unprovoked massacre would remain a dark spot upon the British administration for all times to come Gandhi commented,” if plassey had laid the foundation of the British Empire, Amritsar had shaken it.” Indeed, Amritsar became a turning point in the Indo-British relations. RabindranathTagore renounced the knighthood and Sir Shankar Nair resigned from the viceroy’s Executive council as a mark of protest.
An Inquiry committee under Hunter was set up to look into doings of the Punjab government under the Martial law. General Dyer in his testimony stated, “My object was to shoot well and shoot strong so that I or anybody else should not have to shoot again and I wanted to crush the morale of the people.”The congress set up their own non-official committee which held General Dyer responsible for “a cold blooded, calculated massacre unparalleled for its heartlessness and cowardly butchery in modern times.”
Infact, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was a premeditated plan. It was designed as a demonstrative deterrnce. Mahatma Gandhi declared the Satyagraha compaign to be a ‘Himalayan Blunder’ and suspended the movement on 18 April. The first Satyagrah a movement then failed because Rowlatt Act was not withdrawn. Yet, it was the first experiment of Gandhi’s nonviolent mass movement. It embodldened people to face the government’s repression and prepared them to make further sacrifices for the sake of the nation.