Komagat Maru incident

13/04/2016

Why in news?: Canada will offer  an apology in the House of Commons on May 18 almost 102 years after the Komagata Maru incident
Incident:
  • Took place in 1914.
  • It involved a Japanese ship (named Komatagamaru) that carried 376 Indian passengers from Hong Kong to Canada touching various other ports during the journey. However, at reaching Vancouver port (in Canada), these passengers were not allowed to disembark. After a period of 2 months, the ship had to return back to India again touching back few ports. The ship reach the Budge Budge port (in Kolkata). However, the British authorities didn’t allow the passengers to disembark and in fact the passengers were welcomed with bullets
  • This was due to the Continuous passage act enacted by the Canadian government to check the immigrants and particularly from India.
  • In this incident, 19 Canada-bound Indian immigrants were killed in police firing and many were arrested by the British police.
Significance:
  • Violation of human rights like arbitrary detention helped Indian independence fighters to expose the true face of British administration
  • Journey of Komagatamaru touched various ports during the course where the delivery of political lecture helped rally support of other countries
  • Exposition of Asian Exclusion Act-the discriminatory immigration laws for Asians only allowed the leaders to raise question on Whiteman’s burden theory as they denied in acceptance of that “burden”
  • Ghadar Party used the incident to rally support with the intention to organize a massive uprising against the British Empire
Thus, it can be said that Komatagata maru incident was an important landmark event in the political history of India. It ignited the masses and provided them a plank to carry out attacks against Britishers.