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‘If someone dies, they will be replaced’ hunger striking Gurkha’s make the ultimate pledge

Gurkha veteran says hunger strike is ‘fast until death’

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Speaking to Express.co.uk on Friday, Gurkha veteran Deepak Maskey, 61, vowed the hunger strikes “will not stop” and that there are many more Gurkha’s who will “carry on” the hunger strike and even “die” until the government “sits down” with them to sort out their measely pension payment. Mr Maskey went on to hit out at the government for how they can financial prop up “scroungers” in Britain but treat Gurkha’s who fought for this country and have won 13 Victoria Crosses “so shamefully”. His furious comments come as three Gurkha’s will enter their ninth day of hunger strike outside Downing Street on Sunday as they strike as “a last resort” to get equal pensions for Gurkha’s who fought for Britain and retired prior to 1997 as they are not eligible for a full UK Armed Forces pension.

Mr Maskey, who spoke to Express.co.uk because the three striking veterans Dhan Gurung, Pushpa Rana Ghale and Gyanraj Rai were “too weak to speak” said “enough is enough” of the government’s treatment of the Nepalese heroes who served Britain.

He said: “This is a fast unto death. So until someone dies, then the hunger strike carries on, even after that.

“Because if someone dies, then he or she will be replaced by another Gurkha!”

The veteran added: “This will just carry on, carry on, carry on unless the two governments sit.

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“Enough is enough, this has been very long – 30 years!”

And in a sobering warning, Mr Maskey slammed: “Unless the governments sit together, sort it out, this is not going to stop!

“Fast unto death – this was started as a relay hunger strike for 13 days in the name of 13 Victoria Cross holders.”

Mr Maskey’s comments come as one of the striking Gurkha’s, Gyanraj Rai, 63, said how he earned a measly “£47 a month” pension. 

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The veteran said: “I was a Warrant Officer class, my counterpart, the same ranking, he used to get £800 pension.

“When I was retired in 1995, would you like to know how much [I got]? Only £47! That is the only pension.”

Mr Rai stressed: “He took over £61,000 retirement grant. Me? Hardly £3,000 to £4,000!

The pleas follow defence secretary Ben Wallace’s olive branch to Gurkha’s as he told Sky News on Friday he is “happy to meet with any Gurkha” adding “it is a pretty remarkable group of people” but he backtracked adding how no government “of any colour” had made retrospective changes to pensions similar to the ones the Gurkhas are calling for.

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A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said on Monday: “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.

“We are committed to ensuring the Gurkha Pension Scheme is sustainable and fair alongside other UK public sector pensions.”

More than 200,000 Gurkhas fought in the two world wars, and in the past 50 years they have served in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Borneo, Cyprus, the Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2009, all retired Gurkhas won the right to live in the UK, following a high-profile campaign led by actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles.

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