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What is Komagata Maru incidence?

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By Shruti Pandey

Komagata Maru

Komagata Maru word created a buzz this week.

This week, an assurance came from the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after 102 years of an incident for which he proposed to offer an apology to the victims of Komagata Maru in the House of Commons. He was in the capital city Ottawa on Monday (April 11,2016), for the Baisakhi celebration, and he made an announcement in this regard.

“It was in the House of Commons that the law that prevented the passengers from disembarking was first passed and so it is fitting that the government should apologize there on behalf of all Canadians,” Trudeau said. “That is why next month, on May 18th, I will stand in the House of Commons and offer a full apology for the Komagata Maru incident.”

Calling on reminiscence, he enunciated “We mark the 102nd anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident where 376 passengers, mostly of whom were Sikh dissents arrived in Vancouver and were refused to stay in Canada due to the discriminatory laws of that time. The Komagata Maru’s passengers were seeking refuge and better lives, like millions of immigrants to Canada since. With so much to contribute to their new home, they chose Canada. And we failed them utterly.”

Let’s look at the incidence.

What was Komagata Maru?

A ship that was launched by Charles Connell and Company of Scotstoun on 13 August 1890. She was subsequently acquired by the Shinyei Kisen Goshi Kaisha Company in 1913. The company was owned by four or five individuals who possessed one other ship. She was renamed the Komagata Maru. The following year, she surpassed an incident an Vancouver, Canada that came to be known as “Komagata Maru incident”. In 1924, the ship was renamed Heian Maru. She was wrecked on Cape Soyidmar(Japanese:-{添泊岬}-), Hokkaidō, Japan on 11 February 1926.

When and what happened?

 The ship took off with 376 passengers from Hong Kong and arrived at Vancouver Harbour on May 23, 1914, and the people onboard- 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus were all denied for an entry.

Amidst the 376 passengers, 24 British subjects, who hailed from Punjab, were admitted to Canada and the remaining were made to stand on the harbour for two long maonths. After two months of stand-off, they were sent back. Komagata Maru eventually arrived at the Baj Baj Ghat near Calcutta, where about 19 people were killed following an altercation with British soldiers for being members of the Ghadar party. Rests of them were put in jail.

Why was the discrimination done?

An order was passed in 1908 that required all Asiatic migrants to pay 200 dollars each as the immigration fee. Following the order, another immigration act was passed in 1910 that allowed the immigrants to enter Canada only via a continuous journey with no halts in between. Gurdit singh chartered the Japanese ship that sailed on May 23, 1914. The payment of 200 dollars was not done as the passengers on board argued that they belonged to a British colony. Some skirmishes involved ill treatment of Vanocouver cops are they tried to escort out the passengers. The ship was finally sailed back to India.

The gallantry act of the Prime Minister is appreciable. Although it cannot reimburse the lost lives but it surely relieves the grief of Sikhs who form a significant portion of Canadian population.

Shruti Pandey is studying  B.tech. from HBTI, kanpur. An ardent fan of football, Indian culture and history and aspires to color the world with words. Twitter: @srt_kaka

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

Also Read: ‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS