Gurkhas submit memo to British embassy

Kathmandu, March 28:

Demanding that Gurkhas be provided pay, perks and pension on par with their British counterparts, the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Organisation (GAESO) handed over a memorandum to the British embassy today.

The demand includes annulment of the cut-off date of 1997 to claim benefits.

Meanwhile, representatives of the GAESO, British Gurkha Welfare Society and the United British Gurkhas Ex-Servicemen’s Association went to the Downing Street today and handed over a memorandum to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

According to a statement issued today, about 5,000 Gurkha veterans led by Capt Ram Bahadur Limbu, one of the Victoria Cross winners, went to the British Parliament to hold discussions with Members of Parliament on the issue of equal treatment. “The pro-test is part of a week of activities in London by the Gurkhas, who have been asking for justice and equal treatment for all Gurkhas,” it stated.

In a recent announcement, the British government had indicated that it will give citizenship certificates and increase the pensions of only those Gurkha soldiers, who retired after 1997. Peter Carroll, a Liberal Democratic campaigner in the protest, said, “It is shameful that these brave and loyal soldiers have to ask for what should rightfully be theirs. They are asking for equal treatment with their UK counterparts, the right to live in the UK and for emergency payments to be paid to the poorest and most vulnerable veterans.”

A delegation also met Veterans Minister Derek Twigg MP at the Ministry of Defence. The delegation also met senior politicians in the House of Commons, including the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, it stated.