Gurkha ex-servicemen may seek legal action over pension-pay discrimination

Tuesday 06th April 2021 10:43 EDT

The British Gurkha ex-servicemen are planning to take legal steps against the UK Government over pension discrimination and equal pay. Though the British government has increased their pension by 2.93 per cent from April 2021, the amount still remains much less than other ex-servicemen of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. The community calls this discrimination “disgraceful and inhuman.”

In a press statement, the British Gurkha Satyagraha United Struggle Committee UK-Nepal told Asian Voice, “As per the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) of 9 November 1947, the Gurkha soldiers were an integral part of the parent army and meant to be treated equally with their British counterparts. The whole world is aware that the Gurkhas have been discriminated with regards to their pay, perks, pensions and other benefits ever since they joined the army.

“You may be well aware that the allied organisations of various Gurkha Associations such as the ‘British Gurkha United Struggle Committee’ have been struggling to obtain its equal and genuine rights for the last 3 decades. We had to have 13 days long hunger strike in 2013, after which the Joint Technical Report was submitted on 22 March 2018. Along with that, the government of Nepal also sent a requisition letter for a dialogue to the British government on 12 February 2020. But unfortunately, the UK government hasn’t taken it into account and not initiated any further steps to cover the genuine request of the sovereign country of Nepal.

“It has violated the standards of the TPA of 9 November 1947, and many other rules such as Article 7 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Right, Article 4 of the Charter of the European Society, Article 1 of the United Nation Charter, Race Relation Act of the United Kingdom 1976, to name a few.

"Our British counterparts’ monthly salary is equivalent to our 12 months’ salary in total.”

The Gurkhas have been an integral part of the British Crown for the last 206 years. The 2011 UK Census recorded 48,497 people born in Nepal now living in England. In 2016, Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate suggested that 62,000 Nepalese-born people were resident in the UK. 

The Gurkha soldiers in the British Army are still selected from young men who live in the hills of Nepal. These days Gurkhas in the UK are stationed in seven different military bases and one of them is the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst where the Gurkhas help to train British soldiers. They are believed to be adored by Both Prince William and Harry, especially the latter, after his stint in Afghanistan. The Gurkha population is settled all across the UK, especially in Farnborough (Hampshire), Kent and Woolwich in South London. 

The statement further went on to say, “Today's modern world cannot tolerate such discriminatory acts carried out by the UK 's government. The friendly relationship between Nepal and Britain has been strained for this reason. If Britain wants to maintain its relationship with Nepal, it should address the genuine grievances of the Gurkhas without any delay.

“We are considering submitting a final letter of ultimatum to the UK government in early May and if both UK and Nepal government ignore it again, then we will seek legal course.”

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