A mass funeral ceremony is being performed for an estimated 60,000 Nepali soldiers who died while fighting for the British empire during the first and second world wars.
The Gurkha Army Ex-servicemen’s Organisation (GAESO) founding president Padam Bahadur Gurung said the mass funeral is being planned in the memory of the thousands of undocumented Nepali soldiers – also called the Gurkhas – who were lost (missing in action or MIA) during the war.
He said GAESO is also planning to make public for the first time the names of thousands of Nepali soldiers who fought and died in various battle fronts (including the first and second world wars) for the British crown, but whose names were “kept secret” by the British government until now.
Speaking at an interaction organised in Pokhara on Monday, Gurung, who is himself a retired British Gurkha soldier, said memorial service for the unidentified soldiers will be performed before laying the foundation stone of a monument to the dead soldiers to be constructed at Phedi Khola VDC of Syangja district.
GAESO is planning to perform the death rituals at the site where the monument will be constructed. The foundation stone for the monument will be laid there on November 27.
Gurung, however, said the auspicious date for the mass ceremony will be fixed after consulting with priests from 14 different religions and cultures as, according to GAESO, Nepalis from various castes and religions had fought and died for the British empire.
He also claimed that apart from Gurkhas, thousands of Nepali citizens were also used by the British Empire as “human shields” during the war, but Britain has refused to reveal their names fearing that they have to cough up millions of pounds in compensation. nepalnews.com