Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally apologized in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident in 1914, in which hundreds of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu passengers were denied entry to Canada and forced to return to an uncertain and ultimately violent fate in India.
“Today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident,” Trudeau said in parliament, referring to the name of the ship.
“More than a century ago a great injustice took place,” he said.
The Komagata Maru arrived on Canada’s West Coast on May 23, 1914, anchoring in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. Nearly all of the 376 passengers were denied entry and the ship sat in the harbour for two months. It was ultimately forced to return to India.
Upon their return to India, passengers were arrested and British colonial officials planned to send them back home to the northern state of Punjab.
Some refused to go and 20 were killed when police opened fire on a demonstration.
(With Agency Inputs)