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Former British Gurkha veterans threaten to launch hunger strike if their demands for compension and pension parity not met

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KATHMANDU, April 7:  Alleging that the UK government had failed to give heed to their genuine demands of parity in the pension and other perks and facilities with their British counterparts, the agitating British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee UK-Nepal (BGSUSC UK-Nepal) has threatened to launch hunger strike from July.

Organizing a press conference in Kathmandu, the agitating BGSUSC UK-Nepal announced to submit an ultimatum letter to the governments of the UK and Nepal again in early May to remind them of their demands before staging hunger strikes and initiating other diplomatic and legal actions.  “If Britain wants to maintain its relationship with Nepal, it should address the genuine grievances of the Gurkhas without any delay. If they choose to keep on ignoring this issue, we have no other alternative except carrying out various diplomatic and legal actions against it,” said Coordinator of the BGSUSC UK-Nepal L B Ghising.

Coordinator Ghising said they will seek assistance of the international lawyers that will lead us to carry on hunger strikes in July followed by a case to be filed in the international organizations respectively, if both governments chose to ignore their demands. 

Ghising said that British government meted out great injustice to Gurkha veterans, especially on the pension issue for those who joined before September 30, 1993. “There is an urgent and dire need to address the issues on both the Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS) & the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 (AFPS75). We welcome the British Government’s change in the Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS) for all Gurkhas who joined after 1st October 1993,” read a press release distributed during a press conference organized on Monday.

As per the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) of November 9, 1947, it was mentioned that the Gurkha soldiers would be an integral part of the parent army and that they would be treated equally to their British counterparts. “The whole world is aware that the Gurkhas have been discriminated with regards to their pay, perks, pensions and other benefits ever since they joined the army,” said Ghising. 

The allied organizations of various Gurkha Associations “British Gurkha United Struggle Committee ” have been struggling to exert pressure on both the government for the last 3 decades. They also organized 13-day long fast unto death strike in 2013, after which the Joint Technical Report was submitted on March 22, 2018. Along with these, the government of Nepal had also sent a requisition letter for a dialogue to the British government on February 12, 2020. 

Coordinator Ghising complained that the UK government had failed to take it into account and initiate further steps to cover the request of Nepal. “Such discriminations are very disgraceful and inhuman to the Gurkha soldiers who fought on the front line for the interest of Britain by sacrificing their lives,” he added.

Full text of the press release.