I can’t do much since I lost my sight. I can eat and I can talk! That’s okay for me; I’m happy enough. Why worry about things that have already happened? - Tulsi Maya Ghale

Gurkha veterans postpone hunger strike

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London – The British Gurkhas United Satyagraha Committee has postponed its scheduled fast-unto-death strike until July 21.

Issuing a press release today, it said the decision followed written assurance from the Government of Nepal that it would initiate a firm step for direct talks with the British Government in a bid to resolve outstanding Gurkha issues.

Frustrated with alleged deliberate negligence on the part of the British Government, the Gurkhas has served an ultimatum to the prime minister of both the countries and warned that there would be three volunteer hunger strikers in front of 10 Downing Street beginning July 1.

“On June 27, we received a letter of assurance from the Government of Nepal stating that it would take a firm step to start direct talks with its British counterpart to resolve the outstanding Gurkha issues. As a result, we have postponed the fast-unto-death until July 21,” read the release signed by Krishna Bahadur Rai, chief coordinator of the committee.

“If there is no action from either side, there will no postponement or another ultimatum,” he warned. “Gurkha veterans are not fighting for something they did not earn or deserve. We just want what we are denied by the British Government.

We ask for justice and equality enjoyed by the compassionate people of the United Kingdom, for whom thousands of Gurkhas sacrificed their lives,” Rai added.

According to Gurkha veterans, they are merely asking for the same respect and dignity any British citizen expects from their government in London because they have sacrificed their lives to preserve London the way it is today.

The Gurkha veterans have been fighting for their equal rights for the past 31 years, but to no avail. To bring the continued discrimination into the limelight, Gurkha veteran Gyanraj Rai went on a hunger strike for 15 days in 2013.

The British Government had promised a thorough investigation of the Gurkhas’ grievances in a bid to persuade Gyanraj to end the hunger strike.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 1 2021, of The Himalayan Times.