British Gurkhas, serving Crown for two centuries, threaten legal action for their rights

The British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee UK-Nepal has warned that it will be compelled to take various diplomatic and legal actions if the demands put forth by the British Gurkhas continue to be ignored

Apr 07, 2021
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The British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee UK-Nepal has warned that it will be compelled to take various diplomatic and legal actions if the demands put forth by the British Gurkhas continue to be ignored. 

"Our pay, perks, and other benefits were 1,000 times less than the British counterparts," said a statement issued by the committee.

“We have been serving the British Crown for the last 206 years, but we have been victimised from day-1 of our enlistment,” the statement which was quoted by The Himalayan Times said.

“Such an act by the British government is inhuman, shameful and intolerable to all dignified people and countries of the world," it further said.

Following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India and Britain led to four Gurkha regiments (of Nepalese Gurkha soldiers) from the Indian Army being transferred to the British Army, eventually becoming the Gurkha Brigade. Since then, the Gurkhas have loyally fought for the British all over the world, receiving 13 Victoria Crosses between them.

"The friendly relationship between Nepal and Britain has been strained for this reason. If Britain wants to maintain its relationship with Nepal, it should address the genuine grievances of Gurkhas without delay," it added. The committee said that it had been struggling to obtain equal and genuine rights for the last three decades.

A joint technical report was submitted on March 22, 2018, and along with these, the Government of Nepal had also sent a requisition letter for dialogue to the British government on February 12, 2020.

"But unfortunately, the UK government hasn't taken it into account and has not initiated further steps to address the genuine request of the sovereign country of Nepal,” the statement said.

“Such discrimination is very disgraceful and inhuman to the Gurkha soldiers who fought on the frontline in the interest of Britain. It is against international laws," the statement signed by LB Ghising, committee coordinator, said.

"If they choose to keep on ignoring this issue, we have no other alternative except to carry out various diplomatic and legal actions. They have been betraying and exploiting the British Gurkhas, 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 and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, 1975.

“The whole world is aware that the Gurkhas have been discriminated with regard to their pay, perks, pensions, and other benefits ever since they joined the army," the committee added.

The committee said it was considering submitting an ultimatum to the UK government in early May.

“If both governments ignore it again, the Gurkhas will be compelled to seek the assistance of international lawyers for further action,” the statement added.

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