Canada might be making waves worldwide for being an inclusive society with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau famously commenting that he had more Sikhs in his cabinet than Narendra Modi. But it wasn’t always so.
Canada had a number of exclusion laws in place during the early 20 th century designed specifically to keep out Asian immigrants.
With Justin Trudeau announcing that he would offer a “full apology” in the House of Commons of the Parliament there on May 18 for the infamous Komagata Maru incident, here are things you should know about it:
1) The infamous incident took place in 1914.
2) Komagata Maru was the name of a Japanese steam ship which was sailing to Canada.
3) The ship was carrying 376 passengers from British India’s Punjab.
4) The passengers argued a 1908 provision that required all Asian immigrants to have $200 did not apply to them because they were British subjects.
5) With no one allowed to disembark, the ship was in harbour for 2 months.
6) Subsequently, the government ordered the ship to sail but passengers took over the ship and refused to leave.
7) Vancouver police officers and special immigration agents attempted to board the vessel and were beaten. Thirty were injured.
8) Only 24 of the passengers were allowed on Canadian soil and the ship was forced to return to India.
9) 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus were on board.