UK not to ask family of Gurkha soldier killed in action to leave the country

May 10th, 2009 - 1:43 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 10 (ANI): The Home Office has said it would not ask the family of any British Gurkha soldier killed in action to leave the United Kingdom, after reports appeared that widow of a hero Gurkha killed in Afghanistan was told she has no right to stay in Britain.

Under the rules Parbati Pun and her two young children would have no automatic right to remain and would have to apply for new residency visas, but the Home Office said it would not ask the widow to leave.

The death of Corporal Kumar Purja Pun, 30, from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, has given the campaign to allow Gurkhas to stay a new purpose, The Times reported.

Kumar, who had been in Afghanistan for just a month, was on patrol in the market town of Gereshk when a suicide motorbike bomber struck. As the soldier got out of his his Vixen Snatch vehicle, the jihadist raced towards him, blowing himself up as soon as he got close enough.

Kumar and military policeman Sgt Ben Ross, standing next to him, were killed instantly. The blast injured 30 Afghans and three other troops. Two more British soldiers in Afghanistan died in separate attacks within hours of the bombing.

Kumar, a corporal praised by Army top brass for his bravery and professionalism, joined the Army in 1996 when he was 17.

The attack happened on Thursday, the same day that Joanna Lumley, the actress and daughter of a British officer with the Gurkhas, confronted Immigration Minister Phil Woolas in front of television cameras and gave him a dressing-down about the government’s refusal to allow more Gurkhas to stay.

Lumley said Pun’s death showed the Gurkhas were giving up their lives for Britain and deserved the right to settle here.

“It just goes to show the Gurkhas are at the centre of the army and are willing to fight for the British and give up their lives for this country,” she said.

“That is why we have to give the veteran Gurkhas the right of a second homeland and it proves how brave the Gurkhas are,” Lumley added. (ANI)

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