Legendary Gurkhas threatened by Nepal communists
NEPAL: Maoist activists in Nepal on Friday called for an end to the
recruitment by Britain and India of Nepali youth for their legendary
The Young Communist League, a branch of the country's powerful Maoist
former rebels, also vowed to pile pressure on the Himalayan nation's
government to bring about an end to the nearly two century-old practice.
"It drains the country of capable young people," Ganesh Man Pun, the
head of the Young Communist League told AFP at the end of a three-day
high-level policy meeting. "Recruting Nepali youths into the Gurkhas
should be stopped as soon as possible," he said.
Famed for their loyalty, discipline and courage in battle, Nepali
Gurkhas have been recruited into the British Army since 1817.
Competition is fierce and last year more than 15,000 people tried out
for 230 places.
The British Army currently has around 3,400 Gurkhas serving in
countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, while the Indian Army also has
some 40,000 in its ranks.
Tens of thousands of family members depend entirely on Gurkha
salaries and pensions, providing income that would be otherwise
unobtainable in the largely agricultural, impoverished country.
The Maoists, however, said prospective Gurkha fighters should instead
be given opportunities at home. "The government should provide
alternative employment opportunities, as thousands of unemployed have
already migrated due to the lack of opportunities here," the Maoist
youth leader said.
Kathmandu, Friday, AFP