Former Gorkha soldiers who served in the Indian and British armies, have threatened to launch a countrywide protest against the Maoist decision to close down the centres at which the soldiers are recruited.
One of the primary demands of the Maoists in Nepal has been to immediately stop recruitment of the Gorkha soldiers by foreign countries which they consider demeaning for Nepal. There have been reports that the former guerrillas, now in power, may force closure of the recruitment centres.
“This will be a suicidal decision of the Maoists,” Gopalman Gurung, former mayor of Lekhnath Municipality said while speaking at an event organised by Nepal-India Friendship Association in Pokhara. Gurung said people were highly disappointed with the Maoists decision which have long been a major source of employment for the Nepalese and pumped much needed funds into Nepal’s economy. The Maoists, however, have been insisting that the Nepal government should ensure the youths respectable jobs in their own country. Gurung warned that over 50,000 ex-Gorkha soldiers would take to the streets across Nepal if the recruitment centres were closed. There were plans to organise protest programmes in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Butwal and other cities against the Maoist announcement, he said.
After the Anglo-Nepali war of 1814-16, the army of the East India Company started recruiting soldiers from certain tribal communities in Nepal, who later became legendary as Gorkha soldiers, a practice which still continues.