Gurkhas challenge British settlement policy

September 17th, 2008 - 12:06 am ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 16 (IANS) Hundreds of Gurkha ex-soldiers, considered one of the most loyal and fierce fighters, held a protest demonstration in London Tuesday to force the British government to allow them to stay on in Britain.Britain says those Gurkhas who retired from the British Army before 1997 have no right to stay on in Britain. But Gurkhas who retired after 1997, when their base was moved from Hong Kong to England, have the right to settle.

Some 2,000 Gurkha ex-soldiers have taken the government to court in a bid to end the anomaly.

The march by hundreds of ex-soldiers, led by British actress Joanna Lumley whose father served in the Gurkha regiment, came at the start of a two-day judicial review of the British policy.

Edward Fitzgerlad, the Gurkhas’ lawyer, said the Britain owes a “special debt to all Gurkhas, past and present, whatever their brigade’s location and whatever their date of discharge.”

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