For the first time in their history of nearly seven-decades-long association with the Indian Army, Gorkha pensioners have approached the government of Nepal to take up their case “for justice” with the highest authorities in India during the four-day visit of Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” beginning Thursday.
The issue regarding Gorkha recruitment and pensions has been raised both at the political level as well as by the Federation of the Retired Military Personnel, a representative body of over 100,000 Gorkha pensioners living in Nepal.
Mahendra Prasad Rai, a former minister and leader of the United Democratic Madhesi Front, is believed to have told Prachanda that at least 50 per cent of Gorkha recruits in the Indian Army should be from Madhesi community. Rai made the suggestion during a meeting the Front had with Dahal to discuss issues to be taken up with Indian authorities during his visit to Delhi.
The Federation, on the other hand, approached Prachanda to ask India to immediately set up tribunals to address the “piling” grievances over the rising number of disputes over their “pension”.
A Federation leader, requesting anonymity, told The Indian Express that there are anywhere between 30,000-50,000 cases pending before the defence wing of the Indian embassy and the District Pension Board, but the families of the Gorkhas continue to be deprived of their right.
“The last pension court that came to Nepal from India was in 1997 when K V Rajan was the ambassador, and our repeated request to all ambassadors to have such courts in regular interval have gone unheard,” the Federation leader said.