The British Gurkhas are now on a hunger strike, saying the British government has not met their demands and the Nepali government has not taken the necessary steps. Officials of the British Gurkha Satyagraha Joint Struggle Committee UK-Nepal reached the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Singha Durbar on Thursday and warned that the ongoing relay fast would be turned into death from Saturday as the 32-year-old demand had not been met.
Committee officials have been on a relay fast in front of the British Prime Minister’s Office, Ten Downing Street, since July 20. According to the committee, the fast-unto-death will start from Saturday. “It simply came to our notice then. British citizens and others are helping in this, ”LB Ghising, coordinator of the struggle committee, told Kantipur on Thursday.
Ghising informed that British Gorkhas Gyan Raj Rai, Dhan Bahadur Gurung and Pushpa Rana Ghale have decided to go on a hunger strike. The ex-Gurkha soldiers have been demanding equal pensions and benefits for all those enlisted in the British Army, free health care in Nepal like in the UK, deductible and satisfactory compensation for all victims, unconditional residence visas for adult children in the UK and equal pensions for widows. . But the British Gurkha has accused the British government of completely ignoring their demands.
The struggle committee has been saying that a high-level dialogue committee should be formed between Nepal and the British government as soon as possible to fulfill its demands. But no work has been done in this regard. LB Ghising, coordinator of the struggle committee, reached the ministry on Thursday and requested the Nepali government to draw the attention of the British government to address their demands as soon as possible. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nirmal Raj Kafle, Chief and Joint Secretary of the Europe-US Division, was briefed by the British Gurkha on their demands. Ghising said Kafle would provide more information on the ministry’s work in a few days. According to an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, initiatives are being taken by the Nepali side on the issue of British Gurkha but no response has been received from the British side.
The Government of Nepal sent a letter to the British Government on February 12, 2020 to discuss the demands of the Gurkha soldiers. But the answer has not come yet. “It’s always a diplomatic initiative,” he said. 32 years have passed in the name of diplomatic initiative. If there is no meaningful effort to solve the problem this time, we have to see that Nepalis have died in the hunger strike, ‘said Ghising.
Similarly, on March 15, 2019, the International Relations Committee of the Parliament also directed the Government of Nepal to give priority to the grievances of ex-Gurkha soldiers. The ministry has also mentioned that in the letter.
The International Relations Committee of the Parliament has also discussed the issue on Thursday after the Struggle Committee continued its agitation and the letter sent by the Government of Nepal from the United Kingdom did not respond. ‘In the discussion we heard the pain of the British Gurkhas. Now another meeting is being held on Monday to discuss this issue. After that, there is a discussion on what to give instructions to the government, ‘committee member and MP Deepak Prakash Bhat told The Gurkha Times.