Budge Budge Riot

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The incident refered to as the Budge Budge Riot took place in 1914 when Sikh passengers of the Komagata Maru a Japanese ship chartered to take a group of Sikhs and other Asians to Canada from Hong Kong, arrived back in Calcutta India after being forbidden to disembark in Canada. The passengers consisted of 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, and all were British subjects. Only 24 passengers had been allowed to debark in Canada.

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Arriving in Calcutta on September 26 the ship, attempting to enter the harbour, was forced to stop by a British gunboat with the passengers being placed under guard. The ship was then diverted approximately 17 miles to Budge Budge, where the British intended to put them on a train bound for Punjab. The passengers wanted to stay in Calcutta, and marched towards the city. Intercepted by police they were forced to return to Budge Budge and reboard the ship. The passengers protested, some refusing to reboard, and the police opened fire, killing 20 and wounding nine others.

This was one of the most notorious "incidents" in the history of early 20th century exclusion laws in Canada designed to keep out immigrants of Asian origin.

Gurdit Singh managed to escape and lived in hiding till 1922. He was urged by Gandhi to give himself up as a true patriot. He was then imprisoned for five years.

In 1951, the government of the new Republic of India erected its first monument at Budge Budge to commemorate the massacre of those who fell there.


For a detaied account of the events see Arrival Of The Ship At Budge Budge