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When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Gujarat today, 100 years after up to 1,200 people were killed protesting against colonial rule, he will face requests to apologise for the massacre.

Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the Pal-Dadhvav massacre, when 2,000 tribal people headed by social reformer Motilal Tejawat assembled to protest exploitation, forced labour, and exorbitant taxes, according to historians.

British Major HG Sutton, according to the Gujarat government, ordered his forces to begin fire. "The entire area was packed with corpses, like a war," it stated. It went on to say that two wells were "overflowing with bodies."

The deaths were depicted as the "untold story of valour and sacrifice of the tribals" on the state's official float at this year's annual Republic Day parade, according to a statement that put the death toll at 1,200.

Mr Johnson, who has been chastised over Downing Street parties during the coronavirus outbreak, arrives in Ahmedabad, the state's largest city, today to begin a two-day visit to India.

"These atrocities occurred during British control, so if the British Prime Minister comes here, he must apologise," Mr Tejawat's grandson Mahendra told AFP.

"My grandfather was only waging a campaign for the poor, harmless, and ignorant tribals," the 77-year-old continued.

"If he believes what happened to the defenceless tribals was wrong, he must express regret."

Mr Johnson's portraits littered the streets of Delhi in the days leading up to his visit.

However, the legacy of colonial control have long coloured relations between Britain and India, when London considered the world's second-most populous nation as the jewel in its empire's crown, while hundreds of millions of Indians resented its dominion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasises the independence struggle as an important part of India's national identity on a frequent basis. The Modi government has erected massive monuments of major freedom leaders and established a museum in the Red Fort dedicated to one of them.

PM Modi is a former Gujarat Chief Minister, during whose time a memorial to the massacre victims was created.

However, Arun Vaghela, the dean of the history department at Gujarat University, is sceptical that the British Prime Minister will address the issue.

He conducted field study at the site and stated that villagers were still finding old gunshots embedded in trees and skeletons in deep wells into which individuals had attempted to flee even 20 years ago.

"The British records only show 40 to 50 deaths, but when does any murderer government, British or others, ever expose and recognise the number of individuals it has killed?"

"The British Prime Minister who is coming here wasn't even born at the time," he continued, "and he would have no knowledge of the episode." "What has been done is done; it is history, and we must look forward."