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Gwent Gurkhas campaign for better pensions
7:20am Monday 23rd April 2012 in News By Alison Sanders
(PICTURES BELOW FROM NEWPORT ARE COURTESY OF MR. JAS KANDANGWA, KINDLY FORWARDED BY MR. GYANRAJ RAI)
Former Gurkha Narendra Limbu collecting signatures in Newport
HUNDREDS of signatures were collected in Newport city centre on Saturday by Gurkha veterans campaigning for better pensions.
Fifteen veterans stood at various spots in the city's High Street from 11am till 4pm to collect signatures from passers by.
The petition, which will be handed to the UK Government at the end of the year, asked for equality in pensions, compensation and other benefits for Gurkhas in line with those of British and Commonwealth soldiers of the British armed forces.
The petition said: "We appeal to the UK Government to pay the 'debt of honour' to Gurkhas by immediately addressing their grievances and putting an end to the long standing discriminations suffered by them and their families."
Narendra Limbu, 52, from Cwmbran, said 95,000 signatures have been collected by Gurkha veterans across the UK over the last few months.
Mr Limbu, who joined the army in Hong Kong in 1976, served with the Queen's Dragoon regiment for 16 years including the Falklands War.
The father-of-two moved to Cwmbran in 2007 and works as a site operator for Tata Steel in Llanwern.
He is also part of the Territorial Army and will be deployed to Germany next month.
He said that on his return he and fellow veterans plan to spend days in Monmouthshire and Cardiff collecting further signatures.
Mr Limbu said: "Gurkhas have served the British Army for more than 200 years. We should get the same as everyone else."
Pushpa Sunwar, 24, travelled to Newport from Reading on Saturday to help collect signatures.
She said her father Premb Sunwar served with the 7th Gurkha Rifles and lost his hearing while serving with the army.
Sitting Fairwater councillor Jeff Rees and South Wales East Assembly Member Jocelyn Davies were in Newport to support the veterans on Saturday.
Ms Davies said she would try to get a statement from the Welsh Government on the issue on a cross party basis.
She said: "They're not asking for much and it is an injustice. These are modest requests that they're asking for."
To sign the petition, see epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/10609 Gurkhas who retired before 1997, despite having won the right to settle in the UK after a campaign by Joanna Lumley, continue to receive far smaller pensions than their British and Commonwealthh counterparts.
Veterans can get nearly a third of the
of their British comrades, according to the British Gurkha Welfare Society.
For the last six years, it has campaigned for equality to help tackle the poverty faced by those in the UK and Nepal.
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