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Support the Gurkhas

September 26, 2008 6:00 PM
David Goodall signing the petition to support the Gurkhas justice campaign

David Goodall signing the petition to support the Gurkhas justice campaign

It's an ongoing disgrace: Gurkhas who retired from the British Army after 1997 can automatically stay in the UK, but those who retired earlier must apply, and many have been refused and face deportation. Pension rights for years served by Gurkhas before 1997 count at only around a quarter of the level of years served after that time. Now the high court has backed the Gurkhas campaign the government must not only give all retired Gurkhas the right to live in this country, but must give all Gurkhas a full British army pension when they retire.

At the Liberal Democrat Conference Gurkha reception in Bournemouth this year various details were reported about the treatment of the British Government's treatment of ex-Gurkhas. For example the refusal a year ago to allow Victoria Cross recipient Tul Bahadur Pun into the country for urgent medical treatment, his application was refused and his visa application fees of £1500 were not returned. It was only after immense campaign pressure was this decision reversed and Tul Bahadur Pun VC allowed in.

Now the campaign for Gurkha justice continues until the Gurkhas get the full rights they deserve. The next aim is a full army pension the current Gurkha army pension of £130 per month is not enough to give a good standard of living in Nepal.

After the reception in Bournemouth local councillor David Goodall said :-

"These soldiers have given this country very good and loyal service. The very least we can do is let them live among us if they want to and give them a decent pension. I for one fully back their calls for justice and I hope that enough people back their campaign to make the Government change current policy."

In March 2008, fifty Nepalese soldiers handed back their Long Service and Good Conduct medals in protest at the difference in treatment of Gurkhas with other British soldiers, such as those from the Commonwealth. At a protest outside Parliament, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg received medals handed to him from Gurkhas who served in the British Army before 1997 and are being denied a full pension and the right to British Citizenship.

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said :-

"When I told people what you get from the Government in return for the years of brave, loyal, uncomplaining success people simply don't believe it. It is quite simply a national disgrace. I am simply saying you should be treated with the respect and honour you deserve as brave soldiers. I will do everything I can to end this unacceptable and immoral discrimination."

The blight of the Gurkhas also serves to highlight the lot of all our service personnel they deserve better welfare, housing and pay than they current get. They work to keep us safe we should ensure they are kept safe in return. That is the only fair and deceit thing to do.

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