VANCOUVER — An arrest warrant has been issued for a man after the defacing of a memorial dedicated to ship passengers who were forced to return to India more than a century ago. 

The Vancouver Police Department said Wednesday a charge of mischief was approved by the B.C. prosecution service following a four-month investigation into the vandalism of the Komagata Maru memorial.

Police announced in August they were investigating after social media posts showed graffiti and handprints in white paint had marred the memorial on the city’s seawall. 

The memorial includes the names of those who sailed to Vancouver from India aboard the Komagata Maru on May 23, 1914. 

The vessel, which arrived in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet carrying 376 people, was denied entry to Canada even though those on board were British subjects. 

“We know that this memorial means a lot to a lot of people in the community and the fact that it was vandalized and defaced certainly affected a lot of people,” Sgt. Steve Addison told a news conference. 

Addison said he could not speak to motivation or describe evidence as the matter is before the courts. 

Premier John Horgan said in a social media post in August that he was “deeply upset and angry” by the graffiti, which police said covered the passengers’ names. 

Addison said police collected evidence from the scene and identified a suspect after people began discussing the case on social media. 

Yuniar Kurniawan, 39, is facing one count of mischief.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press