Gurkha ex-servicemen stage protest demanding pay parity

Published On: May 2, 2019 08:27 AM NPT By: Republica

KATHMANDU, May 2: The agitating Former Gurkhas Joint Satyagraha Struggle Committee (FGJSSC) on Wednesday held symbolic mass protest to exert pressure on both Nepal and UK government to constitute high-level dialogue teams and start negotiations to resolve their demand for equal pension as their British counterparts and compensation for past discrimination.

While the FGJSSC staged mass protest at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu, a similar protest was organized at 10 Downing Street in London, according to FGJSSSC General Secretary SB Ghising. The protest in Kathmandu was joined by ordinary public and retired personnel of the Indian Army, Nepal Army and Nepal Police.

The peaceful protest lasted for two hours from 11 am. FGJSSC leaders as well as others had addressed the rally, while urging both Nepal and UK governments to form high level dialogue teams and start negotiation to settle their demands once and for all on the basis of the recommendation made in March 2018 by a technical committee comprising British and Nepali officials and representatives of the ex-Gurkhas’ organizations.

Earlier, the FGJSSC had issued July 1, 2019 deadline to the UK government to resolve their demands as per the recommendations made in the report submitted by the technical committee.  The FGJSSC is scheduled to stage similar protest in front of the British Gurkha Nepal (BGN) headquarters in Pokhara on May 29.

The FGJSSC has put forth a 4-point demand, which among other things calls for equal perks and benefits. Nepalis working in the British Army have been receiving a fraction of what their British counterparts are getting. The ex-Gurkhas have also demanded scrapping of a discriminatory provision wherein widows of Nepali servicemen are paid 40 percent less than widows of servicemen having British citizenship. Other demands include medical benefits for servicemen in Nepal and guarantee of an unconditional resident visa to children of former soldiers.

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