Former Indian Army Gorkha soldiers have urged that India’s Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane distribute Covid-19 vaccines to them and their dependents. The request comes while Nepal is still reeling from the pandemic’s impacts, which include not only infections and fatalities but also financial hardship for many. The retired Nepal-domiciled Gorkha soldiers (those who are permanent residents of Nepal) wrote to Naravane and the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) central organization earlier this month, claiming that more than 150 of them died of Covid without obtaining any immunizations.
According to the letter, which ThePrint has a copy of, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on Nepalese citizens and may claim even more lives.
The retired soldiers also said that the Nepal government was unable to prioritise or give vaccines to them and their families since it was reliant on vaccines from other countries.
“The ex-servicemen (ESM) have served (the Indian Army) with their full loyalty, but now they are dying,” the letter said, adding that neither the Government of India nor the Nepal Government was giving them a priority and providing them anti-Covid vaccines. The letter pointed out that while the ECHS was providing vaccines to ESM and their dependents through ECHS polyclinics in India, retired Gorkha soldiers of Nepal, werke yet to get even the first vaccine dose. The former soldiers questioned whether it was not “most unfair” to the “world-famous Gorkha soldiers”.
They requested General Naravane’s help in demanding that the ECHS deliver immunizations to them and their dependents on humanitarian grounds. According to the letter, “approximately three lakh vaccines should be sufficient to address the current situation.” According to the statement, thousands of ex-servicemen “who have dedicated their youth for India” will be saved as a result of the move.