Canada’s apology over the Komagata Maru fiasco has not created any ripples in a Bathinda village to which belonged 11 passengers on board the ship.
Tungwala village was not aware until 2005 that it was associated with one of the most tragic episodes of Sikh history, said former sarpanch Jagrup Singh.
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Baba Gurditt Singh, who leased the the Komagata Maru to take Sikhs and others to Canada, has documented 11 of the passengers as belonging to Tungwala.
The 78-year-old Jagrup said he first came to know about the link when he the names of the 11 from his village in Desh Bhagat Memorial dedicated to Ghadar Party martyrs at Jalandhar, which has records of those who were on the Komagata Maru.
“After that we started searching for their families and till now we have located distant relatives of four in this village. And the rest are stated to have shifted to Pipli in Haryana.”
The record mentioned 11 persons from Tungwala – Ram Singh, Hira Singh, Sher Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Buddha Singh, Kehar Singh, Bansi Lal, Ramji, Karta Ram, Ram Ratan and Thamman Singh.
“So far we have been able to locate relatives of Ram Singh Gurmukh Singh, Kehar Singh and Thamman Singh.” Jagrup said.
The former sarpanch said two people from the village were among the 19 killed in the firing at Budge Budge near Kolkata, where the passengers disembarked after the ship was turned away from Vancouver, and later Kobe in Japan.
“The district administration has never acknowledged this historical fact and nor the villagers are bothered. So an apology from Canadian PM is not much of a difference for us,” said Gurcharan Singh Mann.
The village has a record of being part of First World War. As many as 37 villagers fought in it, of which three were declared martyrs. There is a memorial in the village in their honour. Also, relatives of 10 Azad Hind Sena fighters live in the village, said Mann.