They have fought for the country, and earned British citizenship 20th September 2011: Once again, the UK has failed to honour its heroes in the right spirit.
When defence minister Gerald Howarth compared “brave British Army veterans” with asylum seekers, he apparently did not take into consideration the sentiments of so many people in the UK who are of the firm belief that the Gurkhas are now British citizens.
The defence minister had asserted retired Gurkhas must be dispersed in the UK like “asylum seekers”.
His assertion may have echoed the sentiments of some people, who have been claiming the overrunning of local services by retired Gurkhas and their families, after they were given the right to settle in Britain.
But at the same time the defence minister apparently went wrong in his assertion as so many others believe the Gurkhas have earned British citizenship.
And, now that they are the citizens of this great country, it is highly inappropriate for the government to say they should be treated as a separate entity of asylum seekers.
The minister may have his own justifications for making the statement. He can always argue there is pressure on services. But, it is for the powers that be to ensure allotment of adequate funding.
The problem is not with the number of Gurkhas, but that of inadequate provisions for them.
The government should remember a lot of people are of the firm opinion that the Gurkhas are `the greatest and truest warriors that ever fought for the country’
Already, Gurkha campaigner Peter Carroll is seeking the removal of defence minister Gerald Howarth for comparing “brave British Army veterans” with asylum seekers.
Claiming he was “aghast”, Carroll said he would write to the Prime Minister asking him to remove Howarth. It is for the defence minister now to do some serious rethinking in his personal capacity as a British citizen and official capacity as a minister.