Cameron marks 1919 Amritsar massacre by British troops in India
February 20, 2013 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
- David Cameron visits a memorial to a 1919 massacre in the Indian city of Amritsar
- Cameron: "We must never forget what happened here"
- British prime minister stops short of a formal apology for the colonial-era massacre
- Hundreds of people were killed when British troops opened fire on unarmed protesters
New Delhi (CNN) -- UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited the site of the infamous 1919 Amritsar massacre by British troops in India on Wednesday -- but those hoping he might apologize for the atrocity were disappointed.
Cameron, the first serving British prime minister to visit Amritsar, a Sikh holy city in the northwestern state of Punjab, laid a wreath at a memorial to the hundreds killed in the massacre.
Writing in a book of condolences at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial, he described the massacre as "a deeply shameful event in British history." He added, "We must never forget what happened here."
However, he did not give a formal apology for the atrocity, which occurred while India was part of the British Empire.
Cameron's remarks in the visitor book
Cameron's remarks in the visitor book
A spokesman for Cameron said the British state had always described the massacre as monstrous, but that "we need to be careful about going around apologizing for things that happened 40 years before the prime minister was born."
Cameron's trip to India is focused on promoting closer trade and business links.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, previously visited Amritsar in 1997.
In 1920, then-cabinet minister Winston Churchill condemned the massacre as "an episode which appears to me to be without precedent or parallel in the modern history of the British Empire ... It is an extraordinary event, a monstrous event, an event which stands in singular and sinister isolation."
The atrocity occurred when a British Army general ordered troops to open fire to disperse a crowd of unarmed protesters who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar.
A report by a British-led committee in the wake of the massacre put the number killed at close to 400, with three to four times as many people injured. Indian observers put the number killed at more than 1,000.
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories