Gurkhas want their retired army heroes to stay in the UK

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London, Apr 16 : A large number of Gurkhas staged a demonstration here on Tuesday to demand their war heroes be allowed to stay in Britain.

The demonstration took place ahead of a landmark immigration tribunal hearing in July.

According to the Daily Express, Britain's erroneous immigration policies have forced these brave warriors to battle for citizenship rights even though they have loyally served the British Army for at least 15 years.

Demonstrators hoped that 2,000 of their brethren would be granted leave to remain in the country.

The July 2008 test case will determine whether the Government's entry clearance officers in Kathmandu, Hong Kong and Macau acted lawfully when they refused right of settlement.

Gurkhas who retire after July 1, 1997 can remain in Britain if they pass a means test.

Martin Howe, representative of a retired Gurkha, said: "The ignominy of forcing these veterans to beg for the right to live in the UK is a stain on the moral integrity of our nation."

Corporal Ragprasa Purja, 41, who served for 17 years before leaving the Army in 2002, said: "We have fought for this country, died for this country, but the treatment we are getting is not what we deserve."

He went on to say that his 72-year-old father, who had also served, was still in Nepal but wanted to be with his family in the UK.

Describing the situation as "madness", Daily Express columnist Frederick Forsyth said: "The numbers concerned are tiny compared with the 800,000 Eastern and Central European people who have come to Britain since 2004."

Labelling the British Government's behaviour as shameful, Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said: "There needs to be a public outcry to put an end to this scandal."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government has tried to be as fair as possible in its treatment of Armed Forces veterans - including ex-Gurkhas."

ANI

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