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Komagata Maru, stating at one point: “Cannot conceive that the Rainbow
guns could possibly become necessary. We agree that control of the ship
must be secured but we are opposed to so extreme a measure.”9
Also on July 21, 1914, the federal Minister of Agriculture (and the Dominion
government’s only B.C. Cabinet member at the time), the Honourable
Martin Burrell, arrived in Vancouver. Borden had dispatched him there
from Penticton, where Burrell had been staying. Burrell saw “immense
crowds constantly on waterfront”, as he reported to Borden. Burrell met
immediately with MacNeill and also sent MacNeill a letter indicating that
Burrell would urge “full and sympathetic consideration be given to those of
the out-of-pocket local South Asian community who deserve generous
treatment”, though this was “conditional on the passengers now on the
Komagata Maru adopting a peaceable attitude, refraining from violence, and
conforming to the law by giving to the captain control of his ship immediately,
and agreeing to a peaceable return to the port whence they came.”10
At around 5 p.m., a deal was reached, though later there were disputes
about whether Burrell had actually promised as a term of it that the moneys
that members of the local South Asian community had advanced would definitely
be repaid. Well after the Komagata Maru had departed, an inquiry into
whether the local South Asian community should be repaid was conducted by
a special commissioner and no payment resulted. The special commissioner
ascribed bad motivations both to Gurdit Singh and to certain members of the
local South Asian community, though he was sympathetic to others whom he
thought had been taken advantage of by fellow members.
On July 21 itself, however, there was relief that a deal had been reached,
apparently including on the part of the Shore Committee and passengers.
Cheering was heard when the Shore Committee was allowed to go to the
Komagata Maru to deliver the news. “Hindus Surrender”, one newspaper
Through the day on July 22, provisions (not including any meat) were
quickly put on board and the ship’s boilers slowly brought back up to full
steam. At 4 a.m. on July 23, members of the local South Asian community
who had finally been allowed to visit passengers on the Komagata Maru left.
Just after 5 a.m. on July 23, 1914, the Komagata Maru weighed anchor,
escorted out to sea by the Rainbow. Troops and bystanders lined the
wharves watching it go.
KOMAGATA MARU’S ARRIVAL IN INDIA
Where the voyage of the Komagata Maru would ultimately end was uncertain.
At first it docked in Japan, and a few passengers disembarked at Yoko-