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Punjab Wants Canada To Apologise For Komagata Maru Tragedy

While the calls for an official apology by the Canadian government in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru tragedy, a black mark of racism on Canada’s early history, has come from largely Sikhs in Canada but a new powerful voice has emerged from all the way across the world in the Punjab, India.

CHANDIGARH – While the calls for an official apology by the Canadian government in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru tragedy, a black mark of racism on Canada’s early history, has come from largely Sikhs in Canada but a new powerful voice has emerged from all the way across the world in the Punjab, India.

On the last day of the Budget session Wednesday, the Punjab Assembly passed two key resolutions related to the Komagata Maru incident and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report.

The Assembly unanimously passed a resolution recommending the Centre to seek apology from the Canadian Government for the Komagata Maru tragedy in which 19 Punjabis were killed at Budge Budge ghat of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1914. It also recommended the state government to approach the Centre for implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report, which suggested 50 per cent profit over and above the input cost to farmers.

The official resolution on Komagata Maru was mooted after the Canadian and Indian branches of Mohan Singh Foundation, Gadar Memorial Foundation, Punjabi Sahitya Academy and Folklore Research Academy, and Aalmi Virasat Foundation approached Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. During deliberation, members of the House said while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had sought a public apology in Surrey in 2008, they wanted an apology to be sought in Canadian Parliament.

Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia appealed to the Treasury as well as Opposition members not to politicise the martyrdom of the 19 Punjabis but raise a united voice so that Canada was forced to apologise, which would be a befitting tribute to them. Nakodar MLA Gurpartap Wadala demanded a memorial to the martyrs, while Bhattal, ministers Tota Singh and Sohan Singh Thandal, and MLA Tarlochan Singh Soondh also supported the resolution.

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