Gurkha taken to hospital during Downing Street hunger strikeon August 18, 2021 at 8:17 am

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Former Gurkha soldier Dhan Gurung has refused food for 11 days in a protest over unequal pensions.

Dhan Gurung

A former Gurkha soldier taking part in a hunger strike outside Downing Street has been taken to hospital.

Dhan Gurung suffered a suspected minor heart attack after refusing to eat food for 11 days.

The 59-year-old, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, is part of a group protesting unequal pensions with other British Army veterans.

Gurkhas who retired before 1997 receive a fraction of the pension British-born members of the army get.

Mr Gurung was protesting in a wheelchair outside Downing Street alongside fellow ex-soldier Gyanraj Rai, 63, and Gurkha widow Pushpa Rana Ghale, 59, who travelled from Nepal.

Three Gurkha veterans on hunger strike outside Downing Street

image sourceGetty Images

The trio previously told the BBC the hunger strike was a “last resort”, but they were “prepared to die” if it meant they would be treated equally.

Gurkhas have served the British Army in two world wars and in the past 50 years in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Borneo, Cyprus, the Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who retired before 1997, like Mr Gurung, receive a fraction of the pension the rest of the British Army receive because the Gurkha Pension Scheme (GPS) was based on Indian Army rates.

Last week, Mr Gurung explained his pension in 1994 was £20 a month and said he and his family lived in poverty because of the British government’s “penny pinching”.

He said he was sacrificing his life to urge the government to “solve 207 years of historical injustice”.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: “We greatly value the huge contribution Gurkhas make to the British Army, and ensure they are supported with a generous pension and medical care during retirement in Nepal.”

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