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Petition for the exoneration of Mewa Singh presented in BC Legislature Featured

Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh made history on Wednesday, August 12, by raising the demand to overturn the conviction of a political activist, who was executed for fighting against racism back in 1915.  

Mewa Singh was the first Sikh dissident to be hanged in Canada, for assassinating a controversial Immigration Inspector. He was one of the Indian revolutionaries who fought against the British occupation of India and racism abroad.   

Calling him Shaheed (Martyr) in the legislature, Rachna Singh presented a petition asking the Canadian government to overturn his conviction.   

Signed by 10,000 people, the petition was launched by the Ghadar Party Centenary Celebrations Committee. Singh stated in the assembly, “as this house has condemned racism in all forms before, I am pleased to present this petition on behalf of my constituents”.  Due to COVID 19 restrictions, the petitioners could not attend.  

Last year, Singh had unveiled Mewa Singh’s portrait in her constituency office on his death anniversary.    

Hopkinson had precipitated a conflict within the South Asian immigrant community, and was responsible for the murders of two Sikh activists inside a gurdwara days after the Komagata Maru ship was forcibly returned.   

The Japanese vessel carried more than 300 South Asian immigrants, who were compelled to leave under discriminatory immigration laws aimed at keeping Canada a so-called "white man’s land". The current Canadian government has already apologized for the episode that had culminated into the violence leading to the murder of Hopkinson. 

Mewa Singh was deeply enraged by the killings of his comrades inside a place of worship, and wanted to avenge this act of sacrilege. He was a religious man who went to the scaffold with prayers on his lips. In his testimony, he owned up the assassination and never appealed for mercy. His testimony also shows how much he was pained by blatant racism against his community. 

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