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Ottawa to fund Komagata Maru memorials Add to ...

Ottawa has pledged nearly $190,000 for two projects to commemorate the Komagata Maru incident.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced the funds for the Khalsa Diwan Society on Sunday.

"The story of the Komagata Maru is an event in our history that did not do us proud," Mr. Kenney wrote in a statement.

"Canadians of South Asian origin have made enormous contributions to building Canada. The government of Canada is committed to recognizing the experiences of the Indo-Canadian community and other communities affected by immigration restrictions applied in Canada's past."

The Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver harbour on May 23, 1914, with 376 passengers on board. The passengers, who were Indian British subjects, were denied entry to Canada under the continuous journey regulation, a law that required travellers to come to Canada from their departure point in just one boat, rather than switching at a port in between. A continuous journey from India to Canada was not possible at the time.

The passengers returned to India after a two-month standoff and approximately 20 of them were killed by police as they disembarked.

Mr. Kenney noted in his statement that Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the Komagata Maru incident in 2008. That apology, at a Surrey, B.C., event, angered a number of Indo-Canadians, who said they had been led to believe the formal apology would be delivered in the House of Commons.

The Khalsa Diwan Society will receive $186,500 for the two projects announced on Sunday.

The first project will be a monument of the ship. The replica will include the names of all of the passengers, as well as photographs and a plaque.

The second project will be to develop a museum dedicated to the incident.

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