DEHRADUN: Over 1600 ex-Army personnel of the Indian Army, who later became residents of Nepal, heaved a sigh of relief when permission was granted to them to enter India via Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand and collect their pensions. The directions came on Tuesday evening.
Prem Singh Bora, an ex-serviceman from the Indian Army and resident of Baitadi district who crossed the border to come to Jhulaghat to collect his pension said, "If Nepal is our 'Janambhumi' then India is our 'Karambhumi'. Nepal and India are body and soul. Without one, another would not be able to exist. Our governments should resolve issues which are a bone of contention. It's our centuries of 'Roti-Beti' relations which is at stake."
The ex-servicemen also added that the two countries' relationship is inseparable and both should resolve the differences for good of their people. "We fight for India not with India. This is a shock for us. Both countries and people of both countries are closely knit families where differences are normal. I hope issues will get resolved soon," said another ex-personnel Mahadev Bhatt
On Tuesday, the MHA allowed the India-Nepal border to be opened for three days from Wednesday to Friday for Nepalese soldiers and their widows whose husbands served in the Indian Army to withdraw their pension. Three suspension bridges in three border towns - Dharchula, Jauljibi and Jhulaghat - will be opened from 8 am to 6 pm. The pensioners will be allowed to enter India only till 1 pm.
More than 1,600 Nepalese citizens who have served in the Indian Army, mostly in the Gorkha regiment, were unable to withdraw pension for atleast past three months after both India and Nepal went into lockdown and closed their borders amid Covid 19 epidemic and ongoing border tussle.