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UK accused of ingratitude, 'big discrimination' against army vets

- Nepalese Gurkha army veterans undergoing hunger strike @ Downing Street
From left, Dhan Gurung, Pushpa Rana Ghale and Gyanraj Rai are on hunger strike outside Downing Street since Saturday, August 7, 2021. Photo: Getty Images
Gyanraj Rai says his pension is £350 a month compared with £1,200 for an ex-British soldier. Photo: BBC News Getty Images
Gyanraj Rai says his pension is £350 a month compared with £1,200 for an ex-British soldier. Photo: BBC News Getty Images
The protest is close to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Boris Johnson’s Downing Street home. Photo: Hollie Adams/PA
The protest is close to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Boris Johnson’s Downing Street home. Photo: Hollie Adams/PA
LONDON, United Kingdom- Immanuel Kant said ‘Ingratitude is the essence of vileness’; William Shakespeare said ‘Ingratitude is monstrous’; and W. Eugene Hansen said ‘It has been said that the sin of ingratitude is more serious than the sin of revenge. With revenge, we return evil for evil, but with ingratitude, we return evil for good.’

Britain is now being blasted as ungrateful for its treatment of Nepalese Gurkha soldiers, who have been an integral part of the British Army for more than 200 years. During the two world wars, 43,000 Gurkha men lost their lives.

The issue has been given international attention after two Gurkha veterans and the widow of a veteran began a hunger strike on Downing Street in the City of Westminster that houses the official residences and offices of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) on Saturday, August 7, 2021, over meagre pension compared to British soldiers who they fought alongside.

Many have expressed on social media their horror on learning of the treatment of the Gurkha veterans, considered one of the most loyal people to Britain.

According to the BBC today, on August 11, 2021, more than 200,000 Gurkhas fought in the two world wars, and in the past 50 years they have served in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Borneo, Cyprus, the Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘Bravest of the brave’ but for what?

Professor Sir Ralph Turner MC of ex-3rd Gurkha Rifles described Gurkha soldiers as the “Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had a country more faithful friends than you.”

Yet Gurkhas who retired before 1997 receive a fraction of the pension the rest of the British Army receive.

The Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS) was based on Indian Army rates for those with at least 15 years' service.

The UK government says it was designed for retirement in Nepal, where the cost of living is significantly lower than in the UK.

But in 2009, all retired Gurkhas won the right to live in the UK, following a high-profile campaign led by actress Joanna L. Lumley, whose father served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles.

‘Big discrimination’

One of the army veterans, Gyanraj Rai, told the BBC he joined the British army at aged 17.

"During service, we were given a very small amount of salary compared to our British counterparts," he says.

"And after our service, the pension was very low. My pension was only £47 a month, where a British veteran used to get over £800 a month."

He says his lump sum on leaving the army was £3,000 compared to that of a British veteran who received between £60,000 and £70,000.

He says today he receives a monthly pension of £350 compared to British ex-soldiers of the same rank who receive £1,200 to £1,300.

The BBC said when it put these figures to the Ministry of Defence it did not dispute them.

Dhan Gurung, 59, called it a "big discrimination" that he was forced to retire when the normal term of engagement for his British counterparts was 22 years.

"When I retired in 1994 my monthly pension was £20 only," he says. "How I survived...with my wife, my daughter and my son."

When he remembers the Gurkhas who died fighting for the British Army, Mr Gurung says he feels pain and his "blood gets hot".

"I remember those who were wounded in the war, after finished war they said 'You are wounded you are not fit for the army'. That's why they sent them back barefoot, empty-handed without pension. Once I remember those things it's really heart-breaking."

‘I don't care even if I die’- Army veteran

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, an Indian Chief of Army Staff once said “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.”

On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, the army veterans and one widow of a veteran entered their fifth day on hunger strike. According to the BBC, they don't even have a gazebo to shelter them from the elements as it was taken down by the Met Police, who said it was in breach of local bylaws.

"Our message is let's form a high level of dialogue team, confirm the day for the dialogue. If they do that we will postpone our hunger strike.

"If they solve the problem we will stop. If they don't want to solve the problem I don't care even if I die because I already sacrificed my life," Mr Gurung said.

14 Responses to “UK accused of ingratitude, 'big discrimination' against army vets”

  • tale of the tape (11/08/2021, 18:01) Like (6) Dislike (42) Reply
    wellsah, imagine what they done to people who gave their lives for them. And some saying let British take over. I ayo head buss like ralphie. sickening to the stomach
  • bbc (11/08/2021, 18:17) Like (1) Dislike (12) Reply
    we have to be very watchful UK or KKK only difference is the spelling
  • Lord have mercy (11/08/2021, 18:30) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why are we so focus on UK news.?
  • Sad (11/08/2021, 18:34) Like (3) Dislike (15) Reply
    keep bringing it VINO, don't care who vex. Let them see who the real UK is...let dem dum dum see
    • @sad (12/08/2021, 08:50) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you cared to actually find out, better deals for Ghurkas has overwhelming support of the British and there have been multiple national campaigns and documentaries on the subject. Ghurka regimental messes are some of the best restaurants in the U.K. and are well supported by all. (They wouldn’t even get a trade licence here). The question of who should get what as a military pension is as controversial for Brits as it is for Nepalese. None of them are treated well and if you think every jobless squadie with severe PTSD is collecting 60k pounds a year, I have some air guitar strings to sell you.
  • YOU AGAIN (11/08/2021, 19:39) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
  • ???? (12/08/2021, 00:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Brit I am (12/08/2021, 00:51) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    The situation with the Gurkha’s is sad, complex and long running. In life some decisions should be easy and common sense should prevail. Unfortunately not all Civil Servants and Ministers can change years of incorrect policy but I can assure you, many are fighting and trying. I thank VINO for drawing attention to the plight of certain Gurkha officers. I only hope that this article is a genuine attempt to raise awareness and not another attempt to snipe the UK government and the present COI. However, I fear that the latter is highly likely.
    Moral of the story, people living in glass houses should never throw stones…..
    • lol (12/08/2021, 09:06) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
      Glass house? Tell that the hypocritical Brits who always trying to play saviour of the world but only mission really is to exploit nations for their own benefit...don't put your head in the sand like an ostrich and talk through that thing sticking up in the air. face the facts, or else stay off this blog.
      • Brit I am (12/08/2021, 17:41) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        Free speech buddy and how dare you get arrogant about free speech, especially when I have first hand knowledge and have worked tirelessly to assist Gurkhas in the UK.
      • Ya awl (12/08/2021, 18:15) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        I see Brit I am was write @lol, it was yet another snipe at the UK Government!
      • Another Brit I am (13/08/2021, 09:23) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        The UK adopts care and funding of many parts of the globe and many nations, in this pandemic era perhaps at the detriment to its own citizens. These citizens are the ones that generally pay for this aid through taxation. The case highlighted in this article is about the Gurkhas and my fellow Brit was absolutely right in thanking VINO for highlighting the problems.
        My comments to Lol, let’s pray that we do not get another Irma, sounds like the Royal Navy and UK support would not be welcome! To to mention the vaccines and medical support provided by Public Health England. Unless you will pay this bill out of your own personal finances??
  • TOKYO 2021 (12/08/2021, 03:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

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