Agitating Gurkhas defer protests after British letters

Published On: July 2, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 2: The British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee (BGSUTC) UK-Nepal which has been staging protest demanding pay parity for serving British Gurkha soldiers and pensioners with their British counterparts has decided to postpone its protests. It had earlier issued July 1 ultimatum to the British government to fulfill the demands.

Organizing a press conference in Lalitpur on Monday, BGSUTC said it decided to defer its planned protest after the British side wrote to it twice and also in view of ongoing political transition in Britain and the Brexit process. BGSUTC also said they have found the British side positive toward its demands.

“It has been clear from its letters that the British government is positive toward our proposal although they are busy with new cabinet formation and Brexit process. So, the Gurkha Satyagraha has decided to defer the protests planned from July 1 for some time,” said BGSUTC Chief Coordinator Krishna Bahadur Rai.

Earlier, the BGSUTC had threatened to obstruct the Gurkha recruitment process in Nepal if their demands were not met by July 1. It had also staged sit-in protests in front of the British Gurkha Pension Camps in Dharan and Pokhara accusing Nepal and UK governments of ignoring its demand for forming a high-level government team of Nepali and UK officials to resolve its demands.

The BGSUTC wants its demands met on the basis of the recommendations made in March 2018 by a technical committee comprised of British and Nepali officials and representatives of the ex-Gurkha organizations.

BGSUTC has vented ire against Nepal government for failing to effectively raise its demands with the British government even as the parliamentary committee on international relations had instructed the government to help resolve the demands. “We are now in a wait and see mode. We will also be forced to knock the court door to ensure that the government acts on our demands as directed by the parliamentary committee,” said BGSUTC General Secretary SB Ghising.

The Gurkha Satyagraha has also argued that its demands are linked to the prestige of Nepal and Nepalis. It also urged all political parties, members of the intelligentsia, rights activists, civil society and the media to support its cause.

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