Sikhs in West Bengal are planning to commemorate the centenary year of the killing of passengers of Kamagata Maru ship at the Budge Budge Port in Kolkata on September 29, 1914.Joginder Singh Johal, son of former Punjab chief minister late Darbara Singh and sikh activist from West Bengal, told reporters today that bengal sikhs would commemorate the incident next year.
Johal and other Sikhs from west bengal have come here to participate in the South Asian Punjabi Conference.
He said he had urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to release a commemorative stamp on the 1914 incident, in which 21 persons lost their lives in firing by British troops on the streamliner.
Johal said bengal sikhs had apprised west bengal chief minster Mamta Banerjee about the decision to commemorate the incident and she had asked them to chalk out the programme.
He said they wanted participation of west bengal, Punjab and central government in the commemoration and were planning to meet punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard.
He said the Canadian government had already directed its postal department to release a stamp on the incident.
In April 1914, Japanese streamliner Komagata Maru was chartered by an affluent businessman Gurdit Singh, to take Indian immigrants to Canada. The ship, which left Hong Kong en route to Canada, had 376 passengers among whom 340 were Sikhs, 12 Hindus and 24 Muslims.
On being denied entry at Vancouver, it travelled back to Calcutta in September 1914 where British police stopped it from entering Budge Budge port and started firing at them, killing 21 persons (official figure quoted by British government).