Gurkha hunger strike protester returns to Westminster after heart issue

18 August 2021, 10:31

Dhan Gurung suffered a heart issue but has since returned to Westminster.
Dhan Gurung suffered a heart issue but has since returned to Westminster. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A Gurkha veteran who has been on a hunger strike to protest pension rights was taken to hospital over an irregular heartbeat.

Dhan Gurung has been carrying out his demonstration at Westminster for more than a week, calling for British military Gurkha pensions to be made fairer for those who settle in the UK.

He was taken to hospital due to an irregular heart beat yesterday but was back near Downing Street on Wednesday morning.

Earlier it was reported he had suffered a heart attack but it has since emerged it was an irregular heart beat.

A spokesperson for the Gurkhas told LBC: "Last night, Dhan Gurung was taken to hospital because his heartbeat was very slow.

"He checked his heartbeat but now he's back here."

The spokesman added: "He was ready to die here in front of 10 Downing Street."

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According to the Support Our Gurkhas website, the campaigners are demanding equal pensions for Gurkhas who retired prior to 1997 and are not eligible for a full UK Armed Forces pension.

Mr Gurung previously told LBC: "Our Gurkha ancestors fought and gave their lives, blood, tears and sweat in order to save Great Britain and the Crown.

"But now, three of us are sacrificing our lives in order to get equal rights.

"That is our fight."

He later compared his monthly pension to that of a dog.

"When I retired, after being part of the service for 15 years, my monthly pension was £20, whereas my British counterparts receive £400," Mr Gurung said.

"A sniffer dog's daily allowance is £22!"

Read more: Joanna Lumley urges Govt to meet with 'brave and loyal' Gurkha veterans

On day five of his fast, Mr Gurung acknowledged that he was feeling weak and would continue "weakening day by day".

Number Ten have since said that there are no plans for Boris Johnson to meet with the Gurkha veterans.

The Prime Minister's spokesman says he believed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace would speak with them.

Mr Wallace has said he is "happy to meet with any Gurkha" in response to their protest in Westminster.