The British Gurkha veterans have started a 13-day relay hunger strike in the UK saying that the Nepali and British governments had turned a deaf ear to their demands despite repeated requests.
The protest led by the British Gurkhas Satyagraha United Struggle Committee started their relay hunger strike at 1:00 pm on Wednesday in front of the British Prime Minister’s Office at 10 Downing Street in London.
Campaigner Gyan Raj Rai said that they were left with no option but to stage hunger strike as the British and Nepali governments had repeatedly turned a deaf ear to the Gurkhas’ plights.
Rai informed that they planned to go on hunger strike for 13 consecutive days from Wednesday with one individual sitting on hunger strike every day.
According to Krishna Bahadur Rai, head of the Satyagraha Committee, if the British government does not take any initiative for talks within 13 days, they will stage a fast-unto-death.
As per the Struggle Committee, the Gurkha soldiers in the British Army have been systemically prejudiced and segregated.
They are compensated 1800% – 2000% less in pay and pension compared to any British soldier.
“To bring attention to the continued discrimination, Gurkha veteran Gyanraj Rai went on a hunger strike unto death, for 15 days, in 2013. To persuade Rai to end the hunger strike, the British Government promised a thorough investigation of the Gurkha grievances. That ended in a sham,” the Committee said in a press statement.
The agitating British Gurkha ex-servicemen have long been staging protests demanding pension parity and other perks and benefits as compared to their British counterparts.
The agitating Struggle Committee has demanded that the British government ensure equal pension, free of cost health facilities, residential visa to their children and equal pension to the widows of the British Gurkha servicemen killed in line of duty as compared to their British counterparts.
Similarly, they have urged the governments of Nepal and Britain to promptly start dialogue over the Report of Technical Committee that comprises the UK envoy to Nepal, Minister of Defense (UK) and representatives of British Gurkha ex-servicemen associations.
They have also asked the Nepal government to recognize the report, introduced on 15 March 2019 by the International Relations Committee of the federal parliament, as a guiding instrument.
The agitating British Gurkhas Satyagraha United Struggle Committee on June 28 had decided to postpone its fast unto death planned from July 1 after Nepal government assured them that a firm step would be taken within two weeks to start a direct table talk with the British government to resolve the outstanding Gurkha issues.
A month into the assurance, Nepal government has failed to take any steps in this regard.