Grieving Gurkha given permission to stay in the UK

May 14th, 2009 - 1:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Kathmandu, May 14 (ANI): A grieving Gurkha veteran who watched his soldier son’s flag-draped coffin return from Afghanistan yesterday has been told he can stay in Britain.

Officials had earlier snubbed heartbroken Dhan Bahadur Pun’s request to settle here despite his family’s sacrifice and his own 16 years of impeccable service to this country. But after relentless pressure from The Sun, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last night ruled that ailing, 63-year-old Dhan will be allowed to settle in the UK. Dhan, his wife and children had been granted only short-stay visas to be at RAF Lyneham, Wilts, to see the coffin of Gurkha Corporal son Kumar, 31, flown back.

A suicide bomber in Helmand province killed Kumar. His coffin was carried from an RAF Hercules with those of three other servicemen who also died in Afghanistan last week. Dhan believed he was condemned to go back to an old age of penury and pain in a small third-floor flat in Kathmandu. But Smith told The Sun: “We owe this man and his family a huge debt of honour. Dhan Bahadur Pun will be granted right of settlement in the UK.”

Dhan served with the 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles from 1966 to 1982, fighting in Malaysia, Brunei and Cyprus. (ANI)

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