Gurkhas win right to settle in Britain

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London, Oct 1 (UNI) Gurkhas, who have tirelessly fought for Britain for generations have finally won the right to settle in the country after a long-drawn legal battle.

The landmark ruling by the High Court was an official recognition of the service that the fearless Nepalese soldiers had given to Britain, often at great personal cost. This, Justice Blake said, earned them ''an unquestionable moral debt of honour'' from the British people.

A Government ruling that denied Gurkhas who retired from the Army before 1997 an automatic right to live in the UK was discriminatory, illegal and needed urgent revision, the judge said.

His decision came at the end of a judicial review of Home Office policy in a test case brought by five veterans and the widow of another.

Their solicitor, Martin Howe, said: ''This is a victory that restores honour and dignity to deserving soldiers who faithfully served in Her Majesty's armed forces. It is a victory for common sense, a victory for fairness and a victory for the British sense of what is right.'' Under current rules, former Gurkha soldiers who retired before 1997, when the Brigade of Gurkhas moved its base from Hong Kong to Hampshire when the city reverted to Chinese control, have to demonstrate ''strong ties'' with Britain to obtain permission to settle.

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