Canada Post unveils Komagata Maru stamp to mark 100 years since ship full of Sikhs was turned away

Published: May 7, 2014
Stephen Harper-India-Canada-Sikh

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Parm Gill, Member of Parliament for Brampton—Springdale pose with Canada Post’s commemorative Komagata Maru stamp, launched on May 6th. Jason Ransom/Handout

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — Canada Post has unveiled a new stamp to mark 100 years since a ship full of mostly Sikh passengers was turned way from Canada and sent back to India, where they were jailed or killed.

The Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914, carrying 376 British subjects, primarily Sikhs from India’s Punjab region, as well as a number of Hindus and Muslims.

The ship was denied permission to dock and only a handful of passengers were allowed to stay in Canada, with the rest remaining on the ship as it was escorted out of Canadian waters two months after its arrival.

India-Canada-Sikh-Muslims-Vancouver

Minister Jason Kenney, Parliamentary Secretary Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary Parm Gill, Member of Parliament Nina Grewal, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister Bal Gosal, Member of Parliament Devinder Shory and Minister Tim Uppal. Jason Ransom/Handout

When the ship arrived in India, 19 of the passengers were shot and the rest were imprisoned.

The international-rate stamp features an image of the Komagata Maru, with a group of men in Sikh turbans in the background.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered an apology for the Komagata Maru incident in 2008, and the B.C. legislature passed a motion apologizing on behalf of the province the same year.

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