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Man arrested months after warrant issued for vandalism of Komagata Maru memorial

He was arrested Monday in the Downtown Eastside.

More than two months after a charge was approved and a BC-wide arrest warrant issued Yuniar Kurniawan is in police custody.

Kurniawan was charged by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) in mid-January for the August 22, 2021 vandalism of the Komagata Maru memorial in Coal Harbour. He allegedly was the one who defaced the memorial with white paint and handprints.

"VPD officers located and arrested Yuniar Kurniawan in the Downtown Eastside on Monday night," the police say in a statement.

He was charged with mischief in the attack on the memorial which honours those aboard the Komagata Maru. The ship travelled for two months from India to Vancouver with 376 potential immigrants, all of South Asian descent. They were denied entry into Canada and Vancouver and had to stay on the ship for two months in the Burrard Inlet before they were turned back.

When the charge was announced the president of the Descendants of the Komagata Maru Society Raj Singh Toor thanked police, but noted the attack was a sign that more than 100 years after the Komagata Maru incident the racism that caused the incident still existed.

"For the last century, our families have had to live with the experience of being rejected from Canada because of our race, and it is memorials such as these that help us deal with the pain and damage of racism," Toor writes.

"When these memorials are defaced, the painful memories of intolerance and racism come back."

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