• U.S.

Queen Gagged in India

2 minute read
Chris Taylor

NEW DELHI: President Clinton is pondering an apology for slavery. Pik Botha and a truckload of other white South African officials have said sorry over apartheid. But when the Queen came to India to make some amends for the worst excesses of colonial rule, she was rebuffed and found herself unable to even speak Wednesday.

Queen Elizabeth, whose father was the last so-styled “Emperor” of the Indian Raj, was forced to cancel plans to speak in Madras Thursday, after Indian officials said that she like all other heads of state was only allowed to speak in the nation’s federal capital.

This was only the latest in a line of missteps and snubs that have overshadowed the two-week Royal visit, made to mark the 50th anniversary of Indian independence.

When the Queen and Prince Philip laid a wreath at Amritsar, site of a 1919 massacre by the British military, they ran into a barrage of criticism from local protesters, the Indian press and even I.K. Gujral, the Indian prime minister.

To make matters worse, Prince Philip was reported as quibbling with a guide at the site over the exact number of Indians killed in the massacre.

How far have the mighty fallen? The bitterest blow came from Gujral, who said that Britain is a “third-rate” country, not worthy of intervening in disputes between India and Pakistan. All in all, the visit is not likely to enter the annals of successful diplomatic forays.

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