Vancouver police have arrested a man who allegedly defaced the Komagata Maru memorial last summer.
Yuniar Kurniawan was charged with one count of mischief by the VPD in January in connection to the vandalism. He has been wanted on a B.C.-wide warrant since then.
The memorial was defaced with white handprints and graffiti in August 2021. It was installed in 2013 to pay tribute to the 376 passengers aboard the Komagata Maru steamship, who travelled from then-British India to Vancouver on May 23, 1914.
At the time of the vandalism, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart called the act ‘disgusting’. National Director for Khalsa Aid Canda, Jindi Singh took to Twitter to express his dismay at seeing the memorial vandalized.
“Quite saddened. I had a great Great Uncle on that ship who was sent back and put on house arrest in Panjab until the Brits left in ‘47. This is not what I wanted to show my kids.”
Raj Singh, spokesperson and vice president for the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society, wrote in a statement that the defacing of the memorial brought painful memories back to the surface.
“The defacing of the Komagata Maru Memorial is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do, but the diligent work of the Vancouver Police does give us hope that even in the dark days we are still making progress to building a more tolerant Canada,” he said.
None of the allegations against Kurniawan have been proven in court.