Thousands of retired Gurkha soldiers are to gather outside Parliament to campaign for justice and fair treatment.
In a symbolic gesture of protest, 50 pensioners will hand back their precious Long Service and Good Conduct medals to the Government. Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years. The Nepalese soldiers, whose regiments have fought in the British Army during bloody conflicts in the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan and Iraq, were told last year their pensions would be brought into line with those of the rest of the armed forces. Despite a number of recent Government announcements thousands of retired Gurkhas are still suffering great injustice, organisers said. Currently only those that retired after 1997 have the right to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the country. Gurkhas who retired before 1997 do not have the right to settle in the UK even though many of them have served more than 25 years in the British Army and many have seen active combat. Pension rights for years of service before 1997 are also dramatically lower than for service after that time. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will speak at the protest in Parliament Square to demand increased rights for Gurkhas. Mr Clegg will call for an end to the forced deportation of retired Gurkhas and ask the Government to grant them the right to live in the UK, regardless of the date they retired. The protest comes a day after Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Lord Lee of Trafford launched a backbench bid in the Lords to make it easier for retired Gurkha soldiers to settle in the UK