Surrey Considering Naming Street After The Komagata Maru And Kin Of One Of The Passengers Says It’s A Great Tribute

DESIBUZZCanada Advises To Name 128th As KOMAGATA MARU Street!

If approved by Surrey City Council, the street will offer a great tribute to the memory of the passengers and Raj Singh Toor — whose grandfather was one of the hundreds of migrants on board the Komagata Maru more than a century ago — told DESIBUZZCanada that it is a great way to honour of the passengers.

By DESIBUZZCanada Staff With News Files

SURREY – The City of Surrey, under mayor Doug McCallum, aka “Doug Paaji”, is considering naming a street after the 1914 Komagata Maru tragedy which remains one of the darkest and racist marks on Canadian history.

The Komagata Maru Street name effort is spearheaded by the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society, which is hoping to have a street in Surrey renamed to honour the passengers of the ship. Surrey council should look into this favorable given the city’s large South Asian population.

Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government gave an official apology for the incident, Surrey is the first city in BC to consider giving it a permanent landmark. DESIBUZZCanada advises that 128th Street should be made Komagata Maru Street.

The street will offer a great tribute to the memory of the passengers and Raj Singh Toor — whose grandfather was one of the hundreds of migrants on board the Komagata Maru more than a century ago — told DESIBUZZCanada that it is a great way to honour of the passengers.

Toor said dedicating a street to the Indian migrants who were left to sit on the ship off the coast of Vancouver for two months before they were denied entry to Canada will serve as a learning tool for the public.

“During the tragedy, those passengers suffered a lot,” he told CBC News. “Their sacrifice and their struggles should be recognized.”

The Komagata Maru arrived on Canada’s West Coast on May 23, 1914 with 376 passengers. It was ultimately forced to return to India, where it was met by British soldiers.

Twenty passengers were killed and others, including Toor’s grandfather, Puran Singh Janetpur, were jailed following an ensuing riot.

Toor will make a presentation to Surrey’s Heritage Advisory Commission Wednesday evening. If he wins the commission’s support, the proposal will then go to council at a later date for final approval.

“If the City of Surrey is going to recognize them with the name of any street in Surrey, in memory of those passengers, the families are going to be very happy,” he said. “Passengers were getting sick and they had very, very hard times.”

He says Surrey is an appropriate location for the tribute because of its large South Asian population.

There is also a Komagata Maru memorial in Coal Harbour.

 

About the Author

DESIBUZZCanada
Raj Paul Dhillon is an award winning journalist based in Vancouver, Canada. He received his second National Best Editorial Award from the National Ethnic Media and Press Association of Canada, presented to him by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on November 21, 2010 in Toronto. Aside from an extensive writing/editing work with a number of newspapers and magazines (currently the editor of the South Asian LINK newspaper, the oldest South Asian newspaper in Canada), he has also done freelance writing for mainstream publications like The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight newspapers. He holds a degree in Communications and in Film from Simon Fraser University.

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