Witness describes desecration of Komagata Maru memorial
A South Asian community activist says he had the worst shock of his life at Harbour Green Park on December 2.
Pargan Mattu was taking a visiting friend to the Vancouver memorial to the Komagata Maru when a white man, aged about 30, first hit the picture of the boat's passengers with a soccer ball and then urinated on it in their presence.
Mattu’s friend from India was keen to see the memorial built by the City of Vancouver in recognition of the Komagata Maru episode.
The vessel with more than 350 South Asian passengers aboard came to Vancouver in May 1914 only to be turned back under the discriminatory continuous-journey law that was aimed at keeping Canada white. The ship remained stranded for two months in the Burrard Inlet before being forced to leave.
The Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already apologized for the incident in 2008.
The memorial has a wall bearing all the names of the Komagata Maru passengers and a picture of Gurdit Singh, who charted the vessel to Vancouver aboard the ship along side other passengers.
Mattu claims that an unknown white man was very abusive and, on being stopped from hitting the picture with a ball, urinated on it.
Mattu then took some pictures and has passed them on to the Vancouver Police Department. The incident has left Mattu distraught.
"It is clearly a hate crime and should be dealt with accordingly," Mattu alleged.
The police are now looking into the incident.