LIGHTNING RELEASES 05/24/14 –Surrey BC. Simran Sandhu Indo- Canadians have lobbied NDP for a demand by the Harper Government, a formal apology on Koma Gata Maru in Canada’s Parliament, to correct the 100 Years of “Dark Period”, in British Columbia and other parts of Canada. Prof.
Mohan Singh Foundation, Surrey member Jasbir Sandhu M.P. spear headed a campaign, convincing the NDP to bring Justice to Indo-Canadians.
Former Jack Layton and Olivia Chow supported the Memorial agenda on apology in Canadian Parliament, whereas Prime Minister Stephan Harper retracted, according to Sahib Thind, founder member.
Koma Gata Maru steamship sailed from Hong Kong, Shanghai, China reached Vancouver on May 23, 1914, when it was ordered to return as it comprised passengers of Asian Origin. There were 340 SIkhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindu, all British Subjects but due to the color of their “Brown Skin”, they had to go back to Calcutta India. Recently BC Premier Christy Clark formally apologized for the “Chinese Head tax”, in Victoria, calling it history of discrimination in British Columbia’ terming it ” 100 years of BC Dark period”. No compensation was granted and such the apology was rejected by Chinese Canadian Council, including the people of Republic of China.
Today as we remember Gurdit Singh and his friends, who sailed the Koma Gata Maru to Vancouver, one thinks, why until now the B.C. Government has not addressed the issue to resolve the “dark period of BC”. Air India Kanishka 1985 Tragedy is another historic example of discrimination for Indo-Canadians, where the compensation has been termed as “peanuts” by Mrs. Bhinder, an injustice to the ‘Brown Skin”.
Surrey’s South Asian 241,000 residents, predominantly Indo-Canadians, want to rename the Bear Creek Park to Koma Gata Maru Park, in memory of the Steamship, a tribute to the sailors and Surrey. We will rename the Bear Creek Park, by referendum if we win in the Municipal elections, said former mayoral candidate Vikram Bajwa. Surrey, Vancouver and British Columbia Political leaders of the Liberal Party, NDP and Conservatives, should join hands and respect the multiculture of our Province, rather divide for petty politics, said UBC Prof. John Cheung.