Photo of Tulbahadur Pun VC and Lachhiman Gurung VC outside the High Court in London, 2008
©Shubha Giri

On the 30th September 2008, a campaign by ex-Gurkhas, led by the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen's Organisation (GAESO), won the right to have the immigration cases of a group of ex-Gurkhas who retired before 1997 reviewed. It was some time before the Home Office review took place and sadly the outcome was a bitter disappointment.

The Gurkha Justice Campaign, fronted by the actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served as a 'chindit' in the 6th Gurkha Rifles during the Second World War, continued to rally public and political support for the right of all Gurkhas to settle in the UK and finally achieved victory in May 2009.

The current standoff between the British government and ex-Gurkha activists, their lawyers and photogenic, high-profile supporters such as Joanna Lumley involves politics on both sides. The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg (with no immediate prospect of coming to power), emphasises the moral principle that 'if someone is prepared to die for this country, then surely they deserve to live here', and the great British public - not notable for its support of immigration - agrees with him.

Tony Gould, author of 'Imperial Warriors, Britain and the Gurkhas', the Guardian May 2008

The author Tony Gould, quoted above, served in the 7th Gurkha Rifles in Malaya, India and Hong Kong and was an expert witness at the High Court hearing, on the side of the Gurkhas. Tony also helped write some of the key entries in the Ayo Gorkhali Timeline.


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