Canada’s province to apologise for Komagata Maru incident

May 23rd, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by admin  

By Gurmukh Singh
Vancouver, May 23 (IANS) Exactly 94 years after the Komagata Maru ship brought 376 Indians here who were forcibly sent back after a two-month wait, the provincial British Columbia government will formally apologise Friday for the racist event. “The British Columbia assembly will formally pass the motion and then tender an apology for the racist treatment of the Indians that the Komagata Maru brought into this country,” MLA Jagrup Brar told IANS from the provincial capital of Victoria.

The Komagata Maru was a Japanese ship which was hired by a Malaysia-based wealthy Sikh Gurdit Singh to bring Indians to Canada to expose its racist policies which allowed only those immigrants who came directly from their country of origin without breaking their journey anywhere.

“Since no ship came directly from India, no Indian could enter this country. Gurdit Singh hired the ship in Hong Kong to pick up 376 passengers who had come there from India and bring them to Canada to challenge the racist policies,” said Brar.

The Canadian parliament has already passed a similar motion, though the federal government is yet to apologise for the Komagata Maru event.

“Since the Komagata Maru tragedy happened here in our city (Vancouver) and British Columbia, our provincial government should have been the first to pass the motion and formally apologise, rather than the federal government do it first. Anyway, now we will beat the federal government in tendering the apology which has been years in coming,” said Brar who introduced a motion on the Komagata Maru apology in the House on April 7.

Though the Canadian government has already announced to tender a formal apology for the event, Brar said his motion would ask the federal government to come out with the historical announcement quickly.

“The provincial government will also ask the Canadian government to raise a suitable memorial to commemorate the tragic event,” said the young Indo-Canadian MLA.

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