Komagata Maru Incident
On May 23, 1914, the SS Komagata Maru with 376 passengers aboard, all of them British subjects of Punjabi descent, sailed into Vancouver harbour. The arrival of the Komagata Maru was a challenge to the Continuous Passage regulation brought into force by Order in Council, January 8, 1908. This regulation prohibited immigrants who did not come to Canada directly from the 'country of their birth, or citizenship, by a continuous journey and on through tickets purchased before leaving the country of their birth, or citizenship', from docking in a Canadian port. The Komagata Maru sailed to Vancouver via Hong Kong and so did not meet these regulations. After a two month stalemate the ship was forced to leave Vancouver and sail back to India, with 356 passengers still aboard. In the end only 20 passengers, who were returning residents, and the ship's doctor and family were permitted to disembark in Vancouver. On arriving in India, at Budge Budge, near Calcutta, the passengers were viewed as political agitators and police were sent to arrest them. Many of the passengers resisted arrest, and in the ensuing riot 19 were killed by police. Some escaped but many others were imprisoned. The riot was known as the Budge Budge riot.
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