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Apology to acknowledge ‘suffering’

The B.C. government will introduce a motion in the legislature tomorrow to apologize for the Komagata Maru incident.


The B.C. government will introduce a motion in the legislature tomorrow to apologize for the Komagata Maru incident.


House Leader Michael De Jong said the timing is meant to coincide with the anniversary of the arrival of the ship carrying would-be Indian immigrants at Vancouver harbour on May 23, 1914.


“This motion acknowledges the suffering the passengers of the Komagata Maru experienced as a consequence of racist attitudes of the day toward people from India and expresses deep regret that those passengers were turned away,” Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism Wally Oppal said.


Canadian officials took two months to determine that only 24 of the 376 mostly Sikh passengers on the Komagata Maru would be allowed to stay. Meanwhile, passengers faced food shortages and disease on the crowded Japanese steamship.


Upon arrival in India, the passengers were detained. The British planned to send them to Punjab, and when they protested 20 were killed.


 
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