Gurkha protester returns to hunger strike over pensions following health scare

Dhan Gurung, 60, is entering the second week of his demonstration outside Downing Street

A former Gurkha protesting over UK pension rights for Nepalese-born soldiers has been taken to hospital after suffering a health scare.

Dhan Gurung, 60, fell ill as he took part in a hunger strike alongside other Gurkha soldiers outside Downing Street in London.

Supporters of Mr Gurung, who is diabetic, say he had been taken for medical assessment after his heart slowed and he had not eaten for 11 days.

But he has since left hospital and returned to Downing Street to continue his demonstration.

Mr Gurung, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, is one of hundreds of people who have demanded equal rights for Gurkha soldiers.

Protesters demand a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to "solve 207 years of historical injustice" against Nepalese soldiers.

Gurkhas typically received a fraction of the pension given to British-born soldiers.

That imbalance has been resolved, but any soldier who left the British Army before 1997 still receives a vastly reduced pension stipend.

Some of the Gurkhas have vowed to continue their hunger strike until politicians promise meaningful action, even if that ultimately means death.

Last week, Mr Gurung explained his pension in 1994 was £20 ($27.50) a month and said he and his family lived in poverty as a result.

"We will keep coming back here, we want to continue our hunger [strike] until death," he previously said.

"We don't care about sacrificing our life."

The UK Ministry of Defence said: "We greatly value the huge contribution Gurkhas make to the British Army, and ensure they are supported with a generous pension and medical care during retirement in Nepal."

Updated: August 18th 2021, 2:49 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS