Komagata Maru Tragedy

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The Komagata Maru was a fuel carrier steamship that had been transformed into a passenger ship by Hong Kong-based business owner Gurdit Singh. It triggered from Hong Kong on April 1914, getting to Vancouver’s harbor a month later on with 376 people on board, the majority of them Sikhs.

The Komagata Maru was, in a sense, developed as a test of Canada’s significantly rigorous migration policy. Amongst the most cumbersome requirements for new arrivals was the Continuous Passage law, set up by the Canadian government in 1908. It mentioned that immigrants need to “come from the nation of their birth, or citizenship, by a continual journey” and making use of tickets “purchased before leaving the country of their birth or citizenship.”

The difficulty was, no steamships traveled straight between Calcutta as well as Vancouver. Even if an Indian national had in some way managed to make a continuous journey, another legislation specified that they required $200 in their pockets to be greeted into Canada. The policies were specially made to suppress the circulation of Indian immigrants in the very early 20th century, that were coming to Canada looking for work.

Sikhs knew about these choices and also plans, yet said that because the travelers on the Komagata Maru were British subjects, they should have the ability to move to one more Commonwealth nation like Canada quickly. Canadian authorities differed, and the ship was refuted docking by the authorities. Only 20 returning Canadian citizens, plus the Komagata Maru’s medical professional and also his household were enabled to disembark.

Eventually, after a two-month delay in the waters just off Vancouver, the ship was escorted back out to sea by the Canadian armed force. Throughout the period it sat in the harbor, the Komagata Maru became something of a media sensation, as well as drew lots of focus from the public at large. The steamship eventually wound up back in India, where,19 of the guests were killed by gunfire upon disembarking. Others were imprisoned.


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