A NEPALESE community leader has warned the government: don't tell us where to live.
The response came as defence minister and Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth repeated calls to 'disperse' any new arrivals from Nepal.
Tikendra Dal Dewan, leader of two Nepalese community groups, was rewarded last week for his community work.
Mr Dewan, of Hinstock Close, Farnborough, a retired Gurkha major who is head of the British Gurkha Welfare Society and the Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community, was presented with the community service award at the eleventh Asian Achievers Awards at Wembley on Friday (September 16).
But Mr Dewan said the shine had been taken off his award by comments made by Mr Howarth that Gurkha veterans and their families should be dispersed around the UK, rather than concentrating in the north-east Hampshire area.
Such dispersal is the policy for large groups of asylum seekers to Britain. But Nepalese leaders said that Mr Howarth’s comments will not alleviate local tensions, and could be interpreted that Nepalis would be less welcome that other nationalities in the area.
Mr Howarth made the comments during an interview with BBC Radio Five Live, during which he argued in favour of a policy of dispersal for the Nepalese population.
Mr Dewan claimed Mr Howarth’s comments were 'poorly considered and hurtful'.
“As the local MP, we understand completely that Mr Howarth has a responsibility to speak out about this issue," he said.
"But equally we would hope he understands our point of view that talking about dispersement and how it is considered for asylum seekers is hurtful to the Nepalis living in the local area, many of whom are Gurkhas and very proud of their contribution to the UK.
"We cannot agree with any suggestion of dispersement, and do not think it is the place of government to tell people where they should or should not live.
"Pointing fingers is not going to help address the significant difficulties facing the local services in Rushmoor."
Mr Dewan said that having expressed his groups' disappointment he was keen to move on and wanted to work with Mr Howarth to resolve issues
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