21 April 2024

Indo-Canadians demand apology from Canadian Government for Komagata Maru Injustice -Gian Singh Kotli Vancouver


The entire Indo-Canadian community now seems to be bent upon pressing the Canadian government to apologize from them for the Komagata Maru episode of injustice and racial discrimination. Extensive coverage in the media, particularly the Indo-Canadian media has made it sufficiently clear that the unfortunate passengers of Komagata Maru ship who arrived here under the leadership of Baba Gurdit Singh had to suffer extreme hardships due to the exclusionary racist policy of the Canadian government. These Indian passengers were British subjects who came here in the hope of better future and should not have been deported back under such humiliating and inhuman conditions. Being British subjects they were entitled to enter into Canada. It was due to the racist and discriminatory policy of the government that these unfortunate passengers were deported to India, where they had to face all the more hardships and some of them were shot at and killed when they landed at Budge Budge Ghat port in Calcutta.

It is to be appreciated that the Indo-Canadian community is only looking for an apology and a proper memorial at the site where the Komagata Maru ship tried to land in the Burrard Inlet Sea near Stanley Park between Vancouver and North Vancouver. The tiny Komagata Memorial plaque, which was installed in the Portal Park, is not a befitting tribute to such a significant episode of history. As it has been quite puzzling and time consuming for visitors to find out this location without having its exact address, I would like to provide some information about its location. Even those who had visited this place earlier could not guide me properly and I have to locate it with the help of Parks Board Vancouver. Now it will be quite easy for all visitors having interest in the valuable struggle of our pioneers to pay a visit to this significant memorial.
The memorial plaque in the Portal Park at 1099 West Hastings Street was installed in 1989 on the 75th anniversary of Komagata. To the west of this beautifully designed tiny Park of about 30×40 yards is Thurlow Street and to the North at about 40 yards is West Cardova Street. Burrard Inlet Sea is about 200 yards to the north from here. But no signboard of Portal Park is to be seen anywhere which makes it difficult to find out its location. The bronze rectangular plaque of 12 inches by 18 inches is fixed amid plants and flowers on the ground. When I visited this place, I was quite disgusted to watch some human waste and soiled tatters strewn amid two cement benches in front of this historical Plaque. Some other memorial plaques are also there in the park. Parking is available on all roads. The Canada-Place cruise ship terminal, Terminal Sky Train station and Burrard Street Sky Train stations are at a short distance from Portal Park. Bus No. 19 from Metro Sky Train station can be used for visiting both Stanley Park and Portal Park.

The memorial plaque in the Portal Park at 1099 West Hastings Street, Vancouver contains the following inscription.
“ Komagata Maru 75th Anniversary.
On May 23, 1914, 376 British subjects, 12 Hindus, 24 Muslims and 340 Sikhs of Indian origin arrived in Vancouver Harbor aboard the Komagata Maru, seeking to enter Canada, 352 of them were denied entry and forced to depart on July 23, 1914. This Plaque commemorates the 75th anniversary of that unfortunate incident of racial discrimination, and reminds Canadians of our commitment to open society in which mutual respect and understanding are honored, differences are respected and traditions are cherished.”

Every year in May and July, Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation of Canada and other Indo-Canadian societies celebrate anniversary of Komagata Maru at Stanley Park Vancouver and Bear Creek Park Surrey to draw the attention of the Canada government for setting up a befitting Memorial to the north of Stanley Park where Komagata Maru was made to anchor and to press upon the government to apologize for this most infamous act of racial discrimination and thereby putting a glorious ending to the most racist chapter in Canadian history.


[Gian Singh Kotli Vancouver, Canada. Tel 604 3216351]
(First:11 July 2007)
(Second: 31st August 2021 by Kanwar Brar)

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Gian Singh Kotli
Vancouver, Canada.
Tel 604 3216351

ਪ੍ਰਿ. ਗਿਆਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਕੋਟਲੀ

Gian Singh Kotli Vancouver, Canada. Tel 604 3216351

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