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Vancouver remembers Komagata Maru on 107th anniversary of ship denied entry

Click to play video: 'City of Vancouver issues official apology for role in Komagata Maru incident' City of Vancouver issues official apology for role in Komagata Maru incident
The City of Vancouver has issued an official apology for its role in the 1914 Komagata Maru incident. As Andrea Macpherson reports, more than a century later -- those impacted by this dark chapter in our history will be honoured at Vancouver's first Komagata Maru Remembrance Day – May 18, 2021

Sunday marks the 107th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, and the first time the City of Vancouver will officially mark the Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance.

The Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship, arrived in Vancouver on May 23, 1914, with 376 British subjects from India aboard.

Read more: Vancouver apologizes for role in Komagata Maru incident

Despite being British subjects, the 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus were denied entry to Canada due to laws that discriminated based on race, and were forced to remain aboard for two months before being sent back to India.

Click to play video: 'Name of politician behind Komagata Maru incident removed from federal building in Vancouver' Name of politician behind Komagata Maru incident removed from federal building in Vancouver
Name of politician behind Komagata Maru incident removed from federal building in Vancouver – Aug 9, 2019

Upon their return to the South Asian country, 19 were shot and killed, while many others were jailed.

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On Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart officially apologized for the city’s role in the incident, and declared May 23 as the Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance.

Stewart said the Vancouver city council of the time went on record saying it was opposed to the admittance of “Hindus and other Asiatic races” into Canada because they’d be a “serious menace” to civilization, both economically and socially.

As a part of the new day of remembrance, the city worked with the community to produce a new video detailing the ship’s story through the eyes of its passengers, their descendants and their families.

Vancouver City Hall will also be illuminated orange on Sunday to mark the date.

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