Komagata Maru

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1914: Brutality, against passenger from Punjab

The Times of India

IP Singh | TNN | Apr 12, 2016

Over 100 years after Komagata Maru episode, Canadian PM Trudeau to offer apology

Over 100 years after the Komagata Maru episode, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in the country's parliament that he would apologise for it in the House of Commons on May 18.

In 1914, most of the 376 passengers from Punjab, mostly Sikhs, on board the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru, that sailed from Hong Kong for Vancouver in Canada, were barred from deboarding in the country, and the vessel forced to return to the then British India.

Trudeau made the announcement after the Akhand Path (uninterrupted recitation of Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib) during Baisakhi celebrations at Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

During his address, the Canadian PM said, "In 2016, we mark the 102nd anniversary of Komagata Maru incident. The passengers of the ship, like the millions of immigrants to Canada since, were seeking refuge and better life for their families."

"With so much to contribute to their new home, which was Canada, and we failed them utterly. As a nation we should never forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community at the hands of the Canadian government of the day; we should not and we will not," he added. His announcement was greeted by chants of 'Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal'. The Liberal party and Trudeau had first the promise during the federal polls.

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