NEW DELHI: Congress today hailed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement that he would offer a formal apology for 1914 Komagata Maru incident.
"Welcome, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's statement, he will offer apology for Komagata Maru. Worthy son of the worthy father, Pierre Trudeau!(sic)," party General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad said on Twitter. Ahmed is in-charge of party affairs in Punjab.
Reports from Toronto had it that almost 102 years after Canada turned away more than 376 migrants, mostly Sikhs from India, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will formally apologise on May 18 in the House of Commons for the incident that happened due to "discriminatory laws of the time".
The Japanese steamship Komagata Maru, carrying 376 immigrants, mostly Sikhs, from India was denied entry by the Canadian government in May 1914 and was forced to return.
Two months later, the ship arrived in Calcutta where British soldiers fired upon the disembarking passengers in which 19 people died.
A painful chapter in the history of Sikhs in Canada, the incident also highlighted the discriminatory immigration policies Canada had followed against Asian immigrants in the 19th century.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper did apologise for the incident at a public event in British Columbia in 2008, but the Canadian-Sikhs have been demanding a formal statement in the Parliament.
Trudeau-led Liberal Party, which has four Sikh ministers in the cabinet, had promised a formal apology during the election campaign last year.