Episode 129: In May of 1914, before the outbreak of WWI, a Japanese steamship called the Komagatu Maru anchored in Burrard Inlet in the Vancouver harbour. There were 376 people aboard led by a man named Baba Gurdit Singh Sirhali. Mostly from the Punjab area of India they dreamt of emigrating to Canada for a better life. Thanks to exclusionary Canadian immigration policies meant to prevent immigration form certain countries, including India, the ship was not allowed to dock. They sat in harbour, without adequate food and water for more than two and half months awaiting court challenges. They were deported in late July and led out of the harbour under naval escort. On returning to India they were diverted away from Calcutta, and when they finally landed a riot broke out with British forces during which 29 unarmed passengers were shot, 20 of whom died.
Sources and Further Reading:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wx1KLtRgQY&feature=emb_logo Full Trudeau Speech
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIZUpTxdYZw Canada Apologizes for Racist Incident 100 Years After Rejecting Komagata Maru Ship of 370 Immigrants
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17448727.2014.895546 The Sikh Formations journal article, GHADAR MOVEMENT: A LIVING LEGACY by Nishant Upadhyay