Sikhs Celebrate Centennial

December 8, 2006

Author: Michael McQuillan

Source: NewsLeader

Sikhs arriving in B.C. [British Columbia] in the early 1900s faced greater hardships than most of the province’s early pioneers.

Sikh and Indian immigration to Canada was restricted through government race-related policies. That was abundantly apparent in 1914 when 376 Sikhs, Muslims and Hindu passengers aboard the ship Komagata Maru were denied entry at Vancouver harbour, despite the fact they were British subjects.

The passengers were not only denied entry, they were physically threatened, denied food, water and supplies and not permitted to take their individual cases before the courts.

Two months after they arrived, the ship left Vancouver and returned to Hong Kong.

The Komagata Maru incident wasn’t the first act of racism Sikhs had experienced.