01 October 2004
Gurkha soldiers from Nepal have won their legal battle that will allow some of them to obtain British citizenship. In this latest decision, those who served in the British army after July 1, 1997, have been given citizenship rights.
"This is undoubtedly a historic decision by the British government," said retired major Deepak Bahadur Gurung, chief of a former soldiers' group in Nepal. The decision should bring about 230 soldiers from Nepal and about 800 dependents into Britain each year.
Currently, about 3,400 Gurkhas serve in the British army. The Gurkha Army Ex-servicemen Organisation (GAESO) has, for over ten years, fought in the courts for Britain to provide more benefits to retired soldiers.
The organization says it will continue to push for equal pay and benefits received by other British soldiers, and for education for children of Gurkha veterans and for compensation to soldiers who retired with no benefits.