Komagata Maru memorial in Vencouver gets recognised


The site of the monument in ‘s Coal Harbour has a new plaque that recognizes the incident as an event of national historic significance.

The new plaque, in English, French and Punjabi, marks the hardship endured by South Asian Canadians affected by the incident in 1914, when the ship reached Vancouver via Hong Kong and Japan carrying hundreds of hopeful immigrants.

It was denied entry to the country and passengers were forced to stay aboard for two months, while in Vancouver waters.

Federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who unveiled the plaque, emphasized that the apology made in the House of Commons in May by Prime Minister  was a crucial step in of the incident.

“And it shows, not just an example for the Komagata Maru, but all the other incidents of our past,” he said. “It is a testament that we must continue to learn and make those right decisions as we move forward.”

Vancouver’s Komagata Maru memorial was built in 2012 and the new plaque summarizes the incident, adding that it, “continues to resonate in our history and is a symbol of the early struggle of South Asian Canadians for justice and equality.”

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Gill, president of the Komagata Maru Heritage Society said he’d like to see the story of the incident added to the public school curriculum, and displayed in a museum.