Cananda Post issues Komagata Maru stamp
Canada Post launched a new stamp on 6th May to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, drawing attention to an exclusionary immigration policy that denied hundreds of Indian migrants entry to Canada in 1914
The Komagat Maru was a charted ship that departed Hong Kong carrying 376 passengers from British India to the Dominion of Canada . When the ship arrived in Vancouver on May 23, 1914, the Canadian government refused entry to these immigrants , mainly Sikhs, from disembarking because of a 1908 law called the Continuous Passage Act. The Law which remained on the statute books until 1947 , required immigrants to enter Canada directly from their country of origin without any stops in between.This law was used to curb immigration because there was no direct route at that time between India and Canada .
After four months of legal battles, The Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the law and on July 23,1914,a Canadian naval ship escorted the Komagat Maru out of Vancouver ‘s harbor, and into international waters. . Upon the ship’ return to India , World War had broken out, and many passengers were shot or imprisoned by police under charges of carrying out seditious activity.
In May 2008, the British Columbian Government voted to apologize for the treatment of the passengers on the ship. Three months later Prim Minister Stephen Harper also apologized during speech in Surrey BC attended by 8000 people . But the Sikh community has insisted that the apology be made in the House of Commons .
The stamps was unveiled on Parliament Hill to kick off the beginning of Asian Heritage month according to Canada post.