Gurkha ex-servicemen start fresh protests over delay in forming talks team to address pension parity issues

Published On: May 31, 2019 03:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 31: The agitating former British Gurkha servicemen have started fresh protests, alleging that their demand for pay parity with their British counterparts was not addressed by Nepal and the UK.

The former Gurkhas Joint Satyagraha Struggle Committee (FGJSSC)-Nepal-UK has staged sit-in protests in front of the British Gurkha Pension Camps in Dharan and Pokhara, accusing Nepal and UK governments of dilly-dallying in forming a high-level government team with their representatives on board to hold negotiations between the two governments to settle the issues of compensation and pension parity.

The FGJSSC has urged both Nepal and UK governments to form high level dialogue teams and start negotiations to settle their demands once and for all on the basis of the recommendations made in March 2018 by a technical committee comprising British and Nepali officials and representatives of the ex-Gurkhas' organizations.

FGJSSC General Secretary SB Ghising said the British government had put the British Gurkha servicemen, who retired before 1997, into a great injustice by denying them equal salary, pension and other perks and benefits as compared to their British counterparts. He said that they will be forced to launch stringent protests if their demands were not met.

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 the scrapping of a discriminatory provision wherein the widows of Nepali servicemen are paid 40 percent less than the widows of servicemen having British citizenship. Other demands include medical benefits for servicemen in Nepal and the guarantee of an unconditional resident visa to children of former soldiers.

The FGJSSC has threatened to launch stringent protests from July 1 including obstructions to recruiting Nepali youths in British Gurkha if their demand to form a talks team to address the pension parity issue was not met. They have threatened to stop fresh recruitment of Gurkha youths in the British Army until their demands are addressed.

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