Page last updated at 18:14 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 19:14 UK

Former Gurkha faces deportation

A Nottingham man who served as a Gurkha in the British Army for 15 years has expressed his anger at a decision to deport him.

Purna Gurung, 55, also faces a huge medical bill after his wife collapsed and remained in a diabetic coma for 10 days. She is still in hospital.

Mr Gurung served in the Brigade of Gurkhas between 1971 and 1986.

He told BBC News that he feels let down, angry and worried about will happen in the future.

Peter Carroll, a councillor in Folkestone where the Gurkhas have their main UK base, has been campaigning for a better deal for the soldiers.

He said Mr Gurung's plight was "morally outrageous" and added that "sadly it's typical of dozens and dozens of other cases."

The government has tried to be as fair as possible in it is treatment of Armed Forces veterans - including ex-Gurkhas
Home Office statement

Gurkhas who retired after 1997 can automatically stay in the UK, but those who retired earlier must apply.

Newark MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army officer, said he was appalled that any soldier could be treated in such a way.

"Any officer who has served in the British Army, normal immigration and deportation rules should be waived," he said.

Following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India and Britain meant four Gurkha regiments from the Indian army were transferred to the British Army, eventually becoming the Gurkha Brigade.

Since then, the Gurkhas have fought for the British all over the world, receiving 13 Victoria Crosses between them.

Right of appeal

A spokesperson for the Home Office said they were unable to comment on individual cases.

She said: "The government has tried to be as fair as possible in it is treatment of Armed Forces veterans - including ex-Gurkhas.

"1 July 1997 is significant as this was the date that the Gurkhas became a UK-based force on completion of the withdrawal from Hong Kong.

"Where a person has been refused further leave, there is a full right of appeal against the decision to the independent courts. We would not remove someone with an outstanding appeal."

A member of the public has offered to cover the medical costs of Mr Gurung's wife.

Who are the Gurkhas?
18 Mar 08 |  UK

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