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Detained, Arrested and Deported: The case of 22 Hindus in 1913

The immigration officers held them as “undesirable aliens” from Asia who were likely to become burdens on the American taxpayer

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  • The immigration officers held them as “undesirable aliens” from Asia who were likely to become burdens on the American taxpayer
  • The concomitant bureaucratic reasoning, the medical discourse, framing of legal processes, etc., were all harnessed to stop the Asian migration
  • After four years since the incident, the Department of Justice admitted that it had been wrong in detaining and deporting subjects of the British Empire

Twelve Sikhs and one Muslim from the Punjab province in British India landed at the Angel Island Immigration Station on July 29, 1913, in San Francisco Bay and were seeking entry into the United States. The group mostly of the farming profession had sailed on S.S. Persia from Manila, Philippines, then an insular territory of America. While some wished to get into the business, others dreamt of climbing the “agricultural ladder” in time.

The immigration officers held them as “undesirable aliens” from Asia who were likely to become burdens on the American taxpayer. The official reason, however, was “that they are of the laboring class, that there is no demand for such labor and there exists a strong prejudice against them in this locality. The arrival and arrest of the ‘Hindus’ made news in local dailies, because, traveling aboard the Pacific Mail Steamship Company-owned S.S. Persia, they had been part of a benchmark voyage. While the Persia was a veteran of transpacific journeys, this particular trip had seen it ferry the largest ever number of ‘steerage passengers’ from Asia.

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The 13 Hindus were individually interrogated by the Immigration Inspector R.E. Peabody and were then formally arraigned, and taken into custody. But one of them, Naram Singh, was released for he either chose to self-deport or was allowed entry—which, is not known. The concomitant bureaucratic reasoning, the medical discourse, framing of legal processes, etc., were all harnessed to stop the Asian migration.

Photos of Indians who were detained. Image Source:

The same sequence of events played themselves out once again, on August 2, in 1913, said the report. When S.S. Korea landed at the docks, all ten ‘Hindus’ were arrested and detained at Angel Island. Out of the twenty-two, the situation was critical for seven among them—five from the first group, and two from the second, mentioned Website. They had been diagnosed with uncinariasis, or to be carrying hookworms—deemed a “dangerous, contagious disease” and a threat to public health in America. The only legitimate way to evade this was to admit oneself for treatment under quarantine and bear the expenses accrued which the concerned seven did.

Around the second week of August, the bail bonds, that were required to proceed to the mainland and remain free until their case was decided, began coming in. By the end of the month, all, except the seven afflicted with uncinariasis, had been released from detention on Angel Island under conditions put forth in their bail.

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The show of support for the detainees had Commissioner Backus concerned. The telegram to the Commissioner General of Immigrations in Washington D.C., Anthony Caminetti goes like this “Voluminous evidence [have been] presented by attorneys[,]” he informed, “supported by affidavits of prospective employers showing that ‘Hindu’ labor is needed and desirable and that Hindus are not objectionable to the State [of California]. My views are opposed to this…” But the processing of deportation warrants for the twenty-two Hindus was already in motion.

Motion for Appeal :The Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Image Source:

On October 10, the Department of Labor ultimately issued warrants authorizing the deportation of the Hindus but the writ of habeas corpus at the U.S. District Court for the First Division of the Northern District of California stopped the motion. The hearing began and with it commenced a lengthy tussle that dragged on for nearly two years.

After the Immigration Bureau framed separate charges for each individual detainee, the court closed with the following statement: “We conclude, therefore, that the testimony adduced in the present case was sufficient in character and effect upon which to predicate the findings of the immigration officers, and such findings must be held to be final and conclusive.” The Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit then upheld the District Court’s ruling.

In 1915, a new case involving thirty-five Hindus surfaced. But they managed to secure a hearing at the Supreme Court. On February 21, 1917, a couple of weeks after the U.S. Congress passed the Asian Barred Zone Immigration Act, the following communiqué appeared in newspapers under the headline ‘US Admits Error in Excluding Manila Hindus’: “The department of justice today notified Timothy Healy…that it would file on March 6 with the Supreme Court a ‘confession of error’ in the stand taken four years ago when 22 Hindus on arrival here were ordered deported. They arrived from Manila and the U.S. officials held they had no right to enter. This latest move will end the case.” And finally after four years since the incident, the Department of Justice admitted before the apex court that it had been wrong in detaining and deporting subjects of the British Empire who entered mainland U.S. through its insular territories, and withdrew all relevant cases.

-by Ajay Krishna, a staff-writer at NewsGram.



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4 Ships Banned From All Ports For Violating North Korea Sanctions

South Korea's naval ships
South Korea's naval ships take part in a military drill for possible attack from North Korea in the water of the East Sea, South Korea. voa

The U.N. Security Council has banned all nations from allowing four ships that transported prohibited goods to and from North Korea to enter any port in their country.

Hugh Griffiths, head of the panel of experts investigating the implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, announced the port bans at a briefing to U.N. member states on Monday. A North Korean diplomat attended the hour-long session.

Griffiths later told several reporters that “this is the first time in U.N. history” that the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang has prohibited ships from entering all ports.

He identified the four cargo ships as the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea. It does not list the flag of Tong San 2 but said that on Oct. 3 it was in the Bohai Sea off north China.

Griffiths said the four ships were officially listed on Oct. 5 “for transporting prohibited goods,” stressing that this was “swift action” by the sanctions committee following the Aug. 6 Security Council resolution that authorized port bans.

That resolution, which followed North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, also banned the country from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products. Those goods are estimated to be worth over $1 billion – about one-third of the country’s estimated $3 billion in exports in 2016.

The Security Council unanimously approved more sanctions on Sept. 11, responding to North Korea’s sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion on Sept. 3.

These latest sanctions ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and cap its crude oil imports. They also prohibit all textile exports, ban all joint ventures and cooperative operations, and bars any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers-key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.

Both resolutions are aimed at increasing economic pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the country’s official name – to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

Griffiths told U.N. diplomats that the panel of experts is getting reports that the DPRK “is continuing its attempts to export coal” in violation of U.N. sanctions.

“We have as yet no evidence whatsoever of state complicity, but given the large quantities of money involved and the excess capacity of coal in the DPRK it probably comes as no surprise to you all that they’re seeking to make some money here,” he said.

Griffiths said the panel is “doing our very best to monitor the situation and to follow up with member states who maybe have been taken advantage of by the tactics deployed by DPRK coal export entities.”

As for joint ventures and cooperative arrangements, Griffiths said the resolution gives them 120 days from Sept. 11 to close down.

But “in a number of cases, the indications are that these joint ventures aren’t shutting down at all but are on the contrary expanding _ and therefore joint ventures is a major feature of the panel’s current investigations,” he said.

Griffiths also asked all countries to pay “special attention” to North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, also known as the Mansudae Art Studio, which is on the sanctions blacklist and subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

According to the sanctions listing, Mansudae exports North Korea workers to other countries “for construction-related activities including for statues and monuments to generate revenue for the government of the DPRK or the (ruling) Workers’ Party of Korea.”

Griffiths said Mansudae “has representatives, branches and affiliates in the Asia-Pacific region, all over Africa and all over Europe.” Without elaborating, he added that “they’re doing an awful lot more than producing statues in Africa.” (voa)

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Las Vegas Massacre Begs the Question: Who Regulates Gun Selling?

Lass Vegas massacre
Las Vegas Metro Police and medical workers stage in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 1, 2017. VOA
  • By Salil Gewali

Oct 08, 2017: Money can do any harmful thing. Yes, now it seems that one can buy lethal weapons as easily as he buys his bread and butter from a store and the recent las vegas massacre proves this. How many have such violent cases happened in a couple of years? They are countless. They all have instantly extinguished the lives of endless innocent people. Sometimes Mississippi, Newtown, Texas, Las Vegas, and sometimes France, Kuwait, Manchester, Landon Bridge, Lahore…! In each case, if we go deeper, the big boss America is directly or indirectly responsible.

Well, as to the rise of gun culture in the USA, I totally blame its Government. The very recent Las Vegas massacre shocked the entire the world. How can the US Government allow Tom, Dick, and Harry to purchase the weapons? The police have found a stockpile of arsenal from the possession of perpetrator Stephen Paddock who killed 59 people, leaving 527 wounded. How did he procure this all deadly stuff? And what had stopped the government from totally banning gun selling in any manners in the wake of the cruel instances of shootings at various spots? Small kids are shooting themselves, schoolboys shooting their classmates for fun, sons gunning down fathers and mothers in a rage, wives shooting their hubbies over petty issues.

Las Vegas Massacre
Assault weapons and handguns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield. VOA

Also Read: Las Vegas Mass Shooting Reignites Gun Debate in US Congress 

This is how the most advanced country in the world is now virtually reeling from a stream of horrific tragedies. Are not the leaders and business houses insanely stupid who all have been resisting the gun control legislation? They have not realized yet the “evil” also roars from gun barrels. Bluntly speaking, can these leaders give sharp daggers to their own kids? It is exactly like that. People may have grown up but their minds are cluttered with gory thoughts and sadism. And, the results are nowhere to make the world shudder with fear and anguish.

One wonders, how much more such dangerous tragedies should strike the mankind before the leaders come to sense and then act sensibly. No one should gamble with the life of the innocent. Explosive America cannot hit the jackpot for the humanity.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)