A visitor from India and his friend who were visiting the memorial monument to commemorate the Komagata Maru at Harbour Green Park in Coal Harbour in Vancouver were allegedly threatened by a white man who they say was very confrontational and attempted to engage in a physical altercation.
He made many remarks and asked: “What are you guys trying to prove?” He reportedly threw a soccer ball at the memorial. Then he urinated on the memorial and was photographed. A police complaint has been made.
Asian Journal posted the story on its website www.AsianJournal.ca on Thursday morning and sent the link to the mainstream media because we believe that such blatant acts of racism should get the widest possible exposure.
Following media inquiries about this, the Vancouver Park Board issued a statement.
“On behalf of my fellow Commissioners, we are saddened and deeply offended by this disgraceful act,” said Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth. “The monument was created in partnership with the Khalsa Diwan Society to embrace multiculturalism and remind people about the devastating impact that racial intolerance and discrimination have had upon our community.”
Parks staff have cleaned the monument.
Vancouver Police first said that their hate crimes investigator was also looking at the file, but later said that they did not believe that this was a hate crime focused on any one particular group and the investigation was closed at this point.
That has angered the South Asian community that feels that Vancouver Police are biased.
What is worse, the Vancouver Police spokesperson told the media that the white man was fairly intoxicated – something that the visitor from India and his friend say is not true.
DURING Question Period in the House of Commons on Friday, Tim Uppal, federal Minister of State for Multiculturalism, responded to the reprehensible act of desecration to the Komagata Maru Monument in Vancouver.
“This is indeed a disgraceful act, and we are pleased that the Vancouver police are investigating it further,” stated Uppal. “This shameful incident of desecration is very upsetting.”
The Komagata Maru Monument commemorates the 376 Punjabi passengers who were aboard the ship which was turned away upon arriving on Canadian shores in 1914.
“The tragic events of the Komagata Maru were a regrettable chapter in Canada’s history,” added Uppal. “That is why our Conservative Government worked with the Khalsa Diwan Society to build this important monument and why Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first to officially apologize for what happened to the passengers of the Komagata Maru on behalf of all Canadians.”
In spring 2014, Canada Post will mark the 100th year anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident by issuing a commemorative stamp. The idea and request for a commemorative stamp of the Komagata Maru incident was a result of the efforts of Parm Gill, Member of Parliament for Brampton-Springdale, said Uppal.