"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Komagata Maru apology campaigners gearing up to thank Trudeau at annual community festival in Surrey Featured


The Punjabi community is anxious to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making an official apology for the racist incident that occurred more than a century ago, at a huge public gathering in Surrey this coming weekend.

The efforts of Surrey-based Prof. Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation culminated into a formal apology for Komagata Maru episode in the House of Commons in 2016.

The Japanese vessel carrying more than 300 South Asian passengers was forced to return in July, 1914 from Vancouver under a discriminatory law that was aimed to discourage permanent settlement of immigrants from India.

Trudeau had officially acknowledged that it was a wrong thing to do, and made an apology that was received by many Indo-Canadians who traveled all the way to Ottawa to witness it.  

Trudeau had promised in July 2015, when he was running to become Prime Minister, to make a dignified closure through a formal apology at the annual community festival organized by Prof. Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park.

The Foundation had started a campaign seeking this apology way back in 2002, and received thousands of signatures on its petition since then. Foundation leader Sahib Singh Thind says that they have invited Trudeau to this year’s festival on Sunday, August 4, in commemoration of the Indian revolutionaries who had fought against British occupation of their homeland and racism abroad. 

Thind is hopeful that Trudeau will make it, as the community is keen to honour him for keeping his promise.

Since Surrey has a sizable South Asian population with a few swing ridings, there is no reason why Trudeau won’t be in attendance. With the Federal election less than three months away, he would connect with thousands of Indo-Canadians who are likely to participate in the festival that remains extremely popular for the past two decades. 

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