Gurkha Taken To Hospital Returns To Hunger Strike

A Gurkha veteran is back on a hunger strike outside Downing Street after being taken to hospital with heart issues.

Dhan Gurung, who is part of a group of protesters and has not eaten for 11 days, was taken to hospital shortly after 01:30 on Wednesday and was later discharged.

The 60-year-old from Basingstoke has been protesting from his wheelchair in Whitehall near the gates to Downing Street, calling for equal pensions for Gurkhas who retired before 1997 and are not eligible for a full UK Armed Forces pension.

He previously told the PA news agency: "We will keep coming back here, we want to continue our hunger (strike) until death.

"We don't care about sacrificing our life."

Yam Gurung, 71, spokesperson for the Gurkhas, said he now has a blood pressure monitor and a heartbeat monitor to keep on top of Dhan's health, but said the Support Our Gurkhas protesters are getting "weaker".

Gurkhas on hunger strike
The Gurkha veterans are continuing their hunger strike outside Downing Street.

He told PA: "On Monday, Dhan sent an email to his family in Nepal and said 'This will be my last email'.

"I was so worried about him I stayed with him all day. Then the next morning he said he was OK and so I went home.

"The next thing I hear is he had been rushed to hospital."

Yam Gurung went on: "I was so frightened. He was taken to hospital because his heart is so weak and he is taking medicine but is not eating anything, he's just having water. He's getting weaker and weaker.

"He didn't want to go to hospital – he said 'I will die here' – but we convinced him to go. He told me quietly that his heart can stop any time, so we have got monitors and a medic keeping an eye on his health."

He added: "It wasn't a heart attack, he just has minor problems with his heart. They (all the Gurkhas) are getting weaker.

"The Government must listen.

Watch: Gurkha veterans stage hunger strike in campaign for equal pension rights.

"We have done so much. Why are they treating us like illegitimate children? We have done so much for them.

"We don't want anybody to die here. Not a single one. We are human beings. I want to ask Boris Johnson, what is your interpretation of human rights? Tell the world. Tell the Gurkhas."

The Prime Minister was seen leaving Downing Street and heading to Parliament at about 09:20 on Wednesday.

The Gurkha protesters, along with other protesters campaigning on separate issues, began shouting at Mr Johnson as he drove past.

Hundreds more Gurkhas will be gathering outside Downing Street later and will march to Parliament Square to continue their protest.

About 200,000 Gurkhas fought in both world wars, also serving in places such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Borneo, Cyprus, the Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who served from 1948 to 2007 were members of the Gurkha Pension Scheme until the Labour government of the time eliminated the differences between Gurkhas' terms and conditions of service and those of their British counterparts.

Serving Gurkhas, and those with service on or after July 1 1997, could then opt to transfer into the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

The change was brought in after a change in immigration rules in 2007, backdated to July 1997, meant that more retired Gurkhas were likely to settle in the UK on discharge, whereas the previous pension scheme had lower rates as it had assumed they would return to Nepal where the cost of living was significantly lower.

Cover image: Gurkha veterans are continuing their hunger strike, calling for equal pension rights, outside Downing Street.

Join Our Newsletter


Ukraine and Russia in escalating race for drone warfare domination

What it's like serving on a state-of-the-art Royal Navy destroyer

RAF Puma crews train for first firefighting season in Cyprus