Indo-Canadian activists ask Canadian PM to apologise for Komagata Maru incident

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Amritsar, Nov.18 (ANI): A group of Canadian and Indian citizens on Wednesday registered their protest against the Canadian government over the infamous Komagata Maru ship incident of 1914, which involved 300 Indians mostly Sikhs seeking entry into Canada through sea but were disallowed to enter Canada.

On their return journey, having left to wander in the sea, at least 20 of those 200-odd persons had died.

The activists at Jaliawalan Bagh at Amritsar lit candles on Wednesday in memory of those 20 individuals who died in that incident.

The activists have sought apology from the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons, just as the Canadian government has done in the case of Chinese and Japanese brotherhood.

It is pertinent to mention that the Prime Minster Harper visited the Golden Temple, the world famous Sikh holy place at Amritsar on Wednesday as part of his three days tour to India.

The Komagata Maru sailed into Vancouver harbor on May 23, 1914, with 376 people on board. The dominion government did not permit passengers to disembark due to racist immigration laws and the vessel remained docked at the harbor for two months.

The Komagata Maru ship was later forcibly sent back to India where the British-India police shot dead many passengers in Calcutta.

Holding banner in their hands the activists including children peacefully marched in the premises of the Jalianwala Bagh.

Members of various organizations including "Alami Punjabi Virasat Foundation" (APVF) joined hands with the Canadian activists.

"Though the Prime Minister apologized for the Komagata Maru ship incident but the fact that he apologized at a public gathering and not from the floor of the Parliament. That apology was unacceptable and that was a political statement," said Sahib Thind, President, Prof. Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation (Canada).

Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology in Surrey, British Columbia, before about 8,000 people in August.

Harper's had apologized to Chinese-Canadian community in 2006 for the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants to Canada between 1885 and 1923.

Singh said that we demand that the Prime Minister Harper should do the same in the House of Commons, as they have already apologised to the brotherhood from China, Japan and tribal community so that we would feel the same equality sense while living in Canada.

Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, President Alami Punjabi Virasat Foundation (APVF) said that on the basis of principles of human rights, freedom, fairness and equality, the Komagata Maru tragedy is every sensitive issue for the Indo - Canadian Community.

He said that if the apology would be offered from the floor of House of Common as sought by the community it would heel the wounds of the kins of the victims. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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