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Indian Gurkhas denied pensions on “flimsy grounds”

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 27, 2009

POKHARA, July 26: The Gurkha soldiers who retired after serving in the Indian Army are facing difficulties in collecting their pensions.

President of the Nepali Indian Gurkha Ex-Army Welfare Committee Subedar Man Bahadur Gurung complains they face hassles while collecting pensions as Indian pension officials raise questions over minor issues such as differences in the name mentioned in the citizenship certificates and the pension identity cards and age difference between the spouses among other things.

He urges the government to take initiative to help Indian Gurkhas get benefits according to the contracts. “I had submitted a 26-point memorandum to the then prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal last March but he ignored the issue,” Gurung says.

He says the Maoists calling for an end to recruitment in the Indian Army were never serious about the issue and expresses hope that the current government to take initiative for their cause. Claiming that more than seven million Nepalis have served the Indian Army since the Sugauli Treaty of 1816, he complained that Indian Gurkhas were not treated like the Indian and British soldiers.

“There are more than 300,000 Indian Gurkhas who fought for India but thousands of them are not getting their pensions on flimsy excuses while others are getting only half of their pension amount,” Gurung reveals putting the number currently serving in India at 700,000.

He claims that Nepalis are paid just Rs 7,000, way below the Indians, in pension for being Nepali nationals. “Our demand is that we should get equal pension and benefits according to the agreement,” Gurung says.

Referring to the recent victory of the British Gurkhas over the British government Gurung said, “We are ready to fight the Indian government if Nepal government lent support.”

The organization is currently collecting statistics on Indian Gurkhas who are not being paid as per the agreement. Gurung claims 741 have been denied pension in Gandaki zone alone on excuse of difference in name on citizenship certificate as Gurung, Pun Magar, Thapa have two/three different surnames.

Similarly, there are dozens who have been denied on the ground of having more than 20 years age difference with spouses. “Many are not paid pensions as the Indian constitution does not recognize polygamy,” says President of the Indian Nepali Ex-Army Wives Association Pavitra Gurung. “Many such wives are facing big problem after death of their husbands,” Pavitra adds putting the number of soldiers committing polygamy at 55 in Gandaki.

She says there are still many second wives who are not getting pensions even after the death of first wives.


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