Komagata Maru

 Komagata Maru, a Japanese-owned freighter chartered out of Hong Kong in April 1914 by 376 Punjabis, mostly SIKHS, bound for Canada. At the time, East Indians were kept out of Canada by an order-in-council requiring them to come to Canada by continuous passage from India, when no steamship line provided the service. Before the Canadian government, under tremendous pressure, closed the door in 1908, about 2000 Sikhs had settled in BC. In 1913, 38 Sikhs contested the continuous-passage order and were admitted. This encouraged others to charter the Komagata Maru.

When it arrived at Vancouver in May 1914, most of the passengers were detained on board. They waited for 2 months while immigration officials maneuvered to keep them out of court and, after they had lost their case, while their leaders negotiated departure terms. The arrival of the RCN cruiser RAINBOW on July 20 added to the Canadian pressure, and on July 23 Komagata Maru sailed for Calcutta, where it was met by police suspicious of the organizers' politics. On disembarkation, 20 passengers were killed in a shooting exchange. The affair strengthened Indian nationalist feeling, but did not significantly soften Canadian immigration law.