Surveillance cameras must be installed to deter people from defacing Komagata Maru monument in Coal Harbour

komagata-maru-memorialTHE Komagata Maru at Harbour Green Park in Coal Harbour in Vancouver was recently defaced with graffiti that was removed last week.

The Globe and Mail reported on Thursday that the removal of the graffiti that included the message “Owen is gay” has led to damage to the rust patina, causing a whitewash effect.

The connected panels were to be cleaned according to the specifications of the landscape architect and the steel is expected to rust over time as it did before.

This shows that the only way to deter people from defacing the Komagata Maru monument is by installing surveillance cameras and putting up a highly visible notice nearby saying something like “Smile, you’re on camera!”

Back in the first week of December, I was the first to report that a white man, who Vancouver Police later said had mental issues, had openly urinated on the monument in the presence of two South Asians. I posted the story on the website of the newspaper I was working for at the time and emailed it to mainstream media so that it would get the maximum possible coverage and force the authorities to take action.

I was again the first to report that Vancouver Police, that handled the matter very shabbily, had decided not to lay charges without explaining exactly why. Again, I emailed the link on my website to mainstream media.

Once again, I was the first to report on my website that Vancouver police had decided to re-investigate the incident after pressure mounted on them, sending the link to mainstream media.

Following the outcry in the South Asian community, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver Police Chief Constable Jim Chu were forced to address the issue to an enraged South Asian community in January.

Chu said at the time: “We located the suspect and he agreed to apologize for his actions.

“I will read his signed apology: “I am sorry for what I did that day at the monument. I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

“When dealing with the suspect, it appeared even more the case that this person was afflicted with a serious mental disorder. He is an illicit drug user and would fit into the category studied recently in the Downtown Eastside of a severely addicted mentally ill person. This suspect needs the health system, not the justice system.

“We believe that it is not in anyone’s interest to serve this suspect a bylaw ticket. We explained this to several South Asian community leaders last night and they supported this decision.”