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In May 1914, a group of 376 passengers - 340 Sikhs, 12 Hindus, and 24 Muslims, organized specifically to test Canada's colour bar of exclusionary immigration policies, sailed from the Orient for Vancouver on the freighter Komagata Maru.

The ship, chartered for the voyage, had been specially fitted out to accommodate passengers instead of her usual coal cargoes. Arriving in English Bay on May 23, 1914, Komagata Maru and her passengers were caught in a tug-of-war between the vessel's organizers and the Canadian government, who refused to let them land.

We are British citizens and we consider we have a right to visit any part of the Empire, said organizer Gurdit Singh.

We are determined to make this a test case and if we are refused entrance into your country, the matter will not end here.

The news was picked up by British press. The Vancouver newspaper, The Province, published news report under the heading of "Boat Loads of Hindus on Way to Vancouver" and "Hindu Invasion of Canada".

 

 
 
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