Man who allegedly urinated on Komagata Maru memorial won’t be charged

Published: January 14, 2014
Coal Harbour Vancouver

A man is seen urinating on the Komagata Maru memorial in Coal Harbour, Vancouver. Submitted photo.

ALMAS MEHERALLY
VANCOUVER DESI

Vancouver police said Tuesday that the man who allegedly urinated on the Komagata Maru memorial in Coal Harbour will not be charged.

Police identified the man involved in the incident and made him aware of the cultural significance of the memorial, said VPD spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham.

The man was also made aware that his alleged activity in and around the memorial was inappropriate and insensitive to the South Asian community, Fincham said.

He added: “In laying a charge, investigators would need to establish that a criminal offence took place, that laying a charge was in the public interest and that there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction. In this case, it was determined that all three criteria had not been established.”

A Surrey man, Pargan Mattu, witnessed the incident in early December 2013 and passed a photo he took at the time to police.

The memorial is dedicated to the 376 Indian passengers aboard the Komagata Maru, a Japanese ship chartered by a Sikh entrepreneur, who were turned away from Canada under discriminatory laws in May 1914. The ship was anchored in Vancouver for over two months and forced out of Vancouver and back to India on July 23, 1914.

The Canadian government issued a public apology for the incident in 2008. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the apology while speaking at an event in Surrey.

The Vancouver Parks Board said in a statement issued after the incident caused an uproar that the monument was created in partnership with the Khalsa Diwan Society “to embrace multiculturalism and remind people about the devastating impact that racial intolerance and discrimination have had upon our community.”

ameherally@vancouverdesi.com

With files from Larissa Cahute

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