How the Gorkha regiments may be on Nepal PM’s agenda in India

A prominent Madhesi leader told Dahal that the Madhesis should get around 50 per cent quota in the Gorkha regiments.

Written by Yubaraj Ghimire | Kathmandu | Published: September 15, 2016 3:08 pm
Gorkha regiment at the Republic day rehearsal at Rajpath in New Delhi on Jan 17th 2016. Express photo by Ravi Kanojia *** Local Caption *** Gorkha regiment at the Republic day rehearsal at Rajpath in New Delhi on Jan 17th 2016. Express photo by Ravi Kanojia Gorkha regiment.  Express photo by Ravi Kanojia (Representational picture)

“Will the Nepal government start recruiting Madhesis into the army?” An Indian journalist had asked the visiting Nepali Prime Minister, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, in June 1990.

“Why don’t you ask your Prime Minister if he would start recruiting Madhesis from Nepal into the Indian Gorkha regiment,” he replied, pointing towards his Indian counterpart, V P Singh, seated next to him at a Shastri Bhavan joint press conference during his state visit.

Today, 26 years down the line, the recruitment of Madhesis into the Gorkhas and the grievances of retired soldiers are once again making news with interested groups asking Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to raise their issues with the Indian government during his state visit which began on Thursday.

A prominent Madhesi leader told Dahal that the Madhesis should get around 50 per cent quota in the Gorkha regiments. Along with the recruitment issue, the Federation of Ex-Gorkhas, an umbrella organisation of over 104,000 Gorkha pensioners settled in Nepal after retirement, is unhappy over two issues that they want Dahal to convey to the Indian government: first, the return of the bodies of dead Gorkha soldiers and second, the payment of pension to family members of the deceased. The Gorkhas were happy to hear Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh profusely praise them during their individual visits to Nepal in 2014 but the Gorkhas feel justice is not being done to the sacrifices they have made.

They are annoyed that the bodies of ‘Gorkhas’ who died in conflict, mainly post Kargil, cannot to be brought back to their families for the last rites and other customs. “We are not being treated at par with the Indian soldiers dying in action,” the Federation said, and want Dahal to discuss this matter with Modi.

The second demand relates to the mounting number of claims for transfer of pension to the families of the Gorkhas after their death, and their `’being denied justice over the years’’. According to the Federation around 4,500 cases had been settled in favour of the claimants by the last tribunal but there are approximately 30,000 cases pending since 1998.

The Federation had submitted a memorandum to senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Kosiary who heads the group of Eminent Persons Group (EPG) that reviews Nepal-India relations, during his visit to Kathmandu last month. He simply invited them to Delhi for ‘discussions’.

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A treaty signed between the governments of Nepal and British East India in 1815, following Nepal’s defeat, marked the beginning of the Gorkha recruitment process, and 10 regiments were raised, accordingly. The Gorkhas were asked to choose between India and UK in 1947 under the tri-lateral arrangement of 1947 between independent India, Britain and Nepal.

While the U K has gradually downsized the Gorkhas regiments over the years, there are currently around 40,000 serving in the Indian Army.

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  1. B
    Sep 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm
    mr.kansakar are u a muslim,even the muslims from india and stan even praise the bravery of chaampions of hindus,the Marathas.Did u forget Chatrapati,Shivaji.and did u forget the south indians who protected their land from muslims because muslims could never conquer south india.and lastly did u forget the jatts from haryana because the amount of sacrifices they have given is unparallelled in u are a ignorant freak.
    1. Bir Chilarai
      Sep 16, 2016 at 9:23 am
      British didn't colonize Nepal because there was nothing of value in Nepal like there was in India. Even today there is nothing in Nepal and 40% of Nepalis live and work in India. The soldiers are essentially slaves of the Vilayati masters unlike in India where they are brothers.
      1. Bir Chilarai
        Sep 16, 2016 at 9:20 am
        stanis surrender not in tens but in tens of thousands even when fully armed. Remember 95,000 surrenders in Bangladesh.
        1. I
          Sep 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm
          Why tihar jail!! You want to provide him all facilities in jail???
          1. G
            Sep 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm
            India should also downsize and give employment to it's own people from JandK and North East, also some madhesis.
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