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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Gurkha hero appeals for UK entry
Gurkha troops
Campaigners say Mr Pun and all Gurkhas should receive UK citizenship
A former Gurkha who won the British military's highest honour is appealing against a decision to deny him a home in the UK.

Tul Bahadar Pun, 84, who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II, wants to move from Nepal to the UK for health reasons.

But British officials in Nepal told him that he was unable to demonstrate strong enough ties to the UK.

His lawyers have lodged an appeal which is due to be heard in August.

Mr Pun's solicitor Martin Howe told the BBC that the UK had a discretionary power to let him live in the country.

"There is a discretionary policy that is there and available to all gurkha ex-servicemen who retired prior to 1997 and they are entitled to come to the UK and live here if they can show strong reasons and I think it's beyond doubt that this man has shown those," he said.

I have served the UK with the utmost loyalty and to be treated this way is appalling
Tul Bahadar Pun

Mr Pun was awarded the VC after he carried out a single-handed attack on a machine gun post while serving as a Rifleman with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, in Burma.

The rest of his section had been killed.

He told the Mirror newspaper he wanted to settle in the UK to have better access to medication, care and support from doctors and nurses.

"I feel bitterly disappointed at the way successive British governments have treated me.

"I have served the UK with the utmost loyalty and to be treated this way is appalling," said Mr Pun.

'Strong ties'

He has diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and asthma. His eyesight and hearing are poor.

Mr Pun receives a British Army pension of 132 a month, which he collects from the Gurkha army camp at Pokhara a three-hour drive away from his home.

If Mr Pun fails to appear in person at the camp, he will not receive his pension.

Mr Pun applied for indefinite leave to enter Britain but British officials in Nepal said they were "not satisfied... your application meets the requirements".

They added: "This is because you have failed to demonstrate that you have strong ties with the UK."

The Foreign Office said later that he could apply again if he addressed the concerns of local officials.

In support of Mr Pun and others, more than 12,000 people have signed a petition on the Downing Street website calling on the prime minister "to immediately and retrospectively give all Gurkha servicemen and their immediate families past and present British citizenship".

Howe & Co, Mr Pun's solicitors, have set up a website, VCHero.co.uk, where people can email in support of Mr Pun.

The website says that all emails received will be put in front of the judge considering his appeal.




SEE ALSO
Straw defends Gurkha help offer
06 Jan 05 |  UK Politics
Gurkhas' UK citizen bid reviewed
01 Sep 04 |  Merseyside

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