Print Edition - 2015-12-21 | News
‘Nepal’s taken up ex-Gurkha issue with UK’
Dec 21, 2015-
Claiming his five-day United Kingdom visit a sucess, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has said that Nepal has for the time raised the issue of ex-Gurkha soldiers with the UK at the government level.
Talking to local journalists in London before his departure to Kathmandu on Saturday, Thapa said, “I found out that Nepal had never raised the issue of Gurkhas at the highest political level. I do not claim that the issue will be solved overnight but the British officials have expressed their seriousness over the matter.”
Ex- Gurkha soldiers are fighting for pay and pensions on par with their British peers and have been campaigning for the cause both in the UK and Nepal for several years.
Thapa said that meetings and engagements with British officials at the highest level during the celebrations to mark the bicentenary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
“I made it clear to them the important features of new constitution,” he told the journalists, adding that senior British officials hailed the new constitution as a “milestone.”Though the new constitution is a document of compromise, it has guaranteed some important rights like freedom of expression, no restrictions against political parties, periodic elections and flexible for amendment, he explained.
Thapa said he also raised the issue of Nepal Army Col Kumar Lama during his meeting with Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove and urged the British government to conclude the case soon. Col Lama was arrested by the British authorities in 2013 on the charge of presiding over the torture of two men—Janak Raut and Karam Hussain—while in charge of Gorusinghe barracks in Kapilvastu in 2005. “I raised the issue of Col Lama, saying that it was a tragedy that Lama’s case has been held up for three years in a country which is widely considered a champion for rule of law,” he said. “I informed them about the formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They have assured me that they will take up the issue with the concerned authorities,” he said.
During the meeting, the British officials had inquired about the humanitarian crisis in Nepal due to the unofficial blockade imposed by India, DPM Thapa said.
In a brief conversation with the Post, he said the joint statement on Nepal by India and the UK during Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to London should not be taken negative. “I have not found any negative intent of the UK against Nepal. They have said all along that it’s a milestone,” he said.
Published: 21-12-2015 08:46