Monday, May 28, 2007

Support for VC Hero Grows: Time for Liam Byrne to Act


On Thursday I highlighted HERE the fate of a VC winning Gurkha who has been denied the right to live in this country because he couldn;t demonstrate close ties with the UK. Since then the publicity surrounding the case of Tul Bahadur Pun has been extraordinary.

In particular I want to pay tribute to the BBC for their role in bringing this to the attention of the nation. On Radio 5 Live's Stephen Nolan Show they devoted their Friday night call in to the subject,m and because of the response repeated the exercise on Saturday. BBC News 24 were also spotlighting the story on Saturday night too. 5 Live's switchboard was jammed and they say they didn't receive a single call on the government's side. Every call seemed to blame the politicians for the fact that Mr Pun is not being allowed into the country. In actual fact it will have been a bureaucrat's stroke of the pen which did that. But it is now up to Immigration Minister Liam Byrne to intervene to allow this hero into the country to get the medical treatment he needs. He knows it's within his power to do so.

I was pleased to learn this morning that Michael Ashcroft, who has a collection of 142 VCs and has written a book about them, has added his voice to the growing calls for Mr Pun to be given residence in this country. It seems politicians from all parties are united in this.
To register your support go the VCHero website. There's more on the British Army Rumour Service (ARRSE) site HERE. If you haven't already written to or emailed your MP about it, please do so. You can also join the FACEBOOK support group HERE. You can email words of support to: support@vchero.co.uk . All your emails will be put before the Immigration Judge considering Mr Pun VC's appeal.
St Cripsin's Day Blog speaks for many when he says: Apparently being a rapist or potential mass murderer gives you a greater chance of staying in this country than the following actions.
“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to :- No. 10119 Rifleman Tullbahadur (sic) Pun, 6th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army. In Burma on June 23rd, 1944, a Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to attack the Railway Bridge at Mogaung. Immediately the attack developed the enemy opened concentrated and sustained cross fire at close range from a position known as the Red House and from a strong bunker position two hundred yards to the left of it. So intense was this cross fire that both the leading platoons of ‘B’ Company, one of which was Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun’s, were pinned to the ground and the whole of his Section was wiped out with the exception of himself, the Section commander and one other man. The Section commander immediately led the remaining two men in a charge on the Red House but was at once badly wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun and his remaining companion continued the charge, but the latter too was immediately wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun then seized the Bren Gun, and firing from the hip as he went, continued the charge on this heavily bunkered position alone, in the face of the most shattering concentration of automatic fire, directed straight at him. With the dawn coming up behind him, he presented a perfect target to the Japanese. He had to move for thirty yards over open ground, ankle deep in mud, through shell holes and over fallen trees. Despite these overwhelming odds, he reached the Red House and closed with the Japanese occupations. He killed three and put five more to flight and captured two light machine guns and much ammunition. He then gave accurate supporting fire from the bunker to the remainder of his platoon which enabled them to reach their objective. His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and beyond praise.”

31 comments:

sniper said...

I see there is, as yet, no mention on the BBC website. Maybe it is a bit just too "Beharry" for them.

Vote Freedom said...

Having listened to Radio 5 live on friday and saturday night. I would like to correct you on a few points. They did not devote a whole section of the phone in to this. They dropped one piece at the end of the programme on the Friday. They then promised to get in touch with the home office and tell us what happened on the Saturday.

So tuned in on the Saturday from 9.50 heard Mr Nolan tell the listeners in the advert for his programme that there would be a follow up on the previous nights vc hero piece. So we wait and we wait and we wait. at 12.15 am after four pieces of propaganda and a report on the soap awards we get the news on the war hero.

The Home office gave the usual sterile response of we are doing what we can and like the joke about the policeman and the hole. they are looking into it.

And it wasnt just the government people had a go at but the whole immigration system. there was 100% approval to have a man brought into this country who had been prepared to die for this country and why cant we get rid of the economic and illegal immigrants. Why is it we can refuse entry for someone who hasnt got enough ties with the UK but we allow a flood of immigrants into the country ?

But having seen Micheal Portillos piece in the Times and the total refusal of all troy blogs to accept his existance yet to a blog have reported on the supposed attack on labour come green come gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

So what does the Tory party stand for.. You are great for jumping on band wagons but how about actually sticking up for this country...

jailhouselawyer said...

Glad to see that it is gaining support.

BTW, the only mention of it on conservativehome was my comment linking to your site. I'm sure that they can do better than that for a good cause?

Gareth said...

Doesn't that citation make you weep with pride?? This man dared to be brave beyond comprehension for a country he loved. Sadly that country no longer seems to value the traits shown by this exceptional man. I sense a deep malaise in the country I love, entirely engendered by cynical, manipulative and grasping politicians with no moral scruples whatsoever.

Citizenship and citizenship NOW is the only morally correct course.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

As you say, Iain, this will have been a decision made by some witless box-ticking bureaucrat. No doubt the decision will be reversed within 24 hours but ONLY because the media are on to it. Without the publicity the decision would have stood.

We grumble about our media, but sometimes they are indispensible in highlighting individual cases of injustice.

Blogfan said...

Just written to Her Majesty Iain,
Saw a fantastic suggestion over on the Army rumours site you mentioned:

'It is getting towards Summer, in particular 23 June of 2007, 63 years since 1944. This is the anniversary of the action in which Mr Pun won his VC.

Could this date constitute a target of some sort? I would suggest a reception (House of Lords ?) at which Mr Pun is guest of honour.

Anonymous said...

Quite agree Iain, but there is a broader point with regard to immigration. If we had a points system, like Australia, then we could ensure that those economic migrants are accepted on their merits and skills. This could also include due consideration for those who have made a significant contribution such as Mr. Pun. By doing so we would have a rational and transparent immigration system in which cases of injustice, such as this one, would be few and far between.

Why is it that unlike countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, we have such difficulty in discussing immigration in an open and productive manner? Is it really beyond our politicians to debate the merits, or otherwise, of economic immigration and get beyond categorising anyone with views on the matter as xenophobic or worse?

Anonymous said...

Doeas Liam Byrne ever do anything BUT 'act'?

I place him in the Blair-Blunkett-Milburn-Byers-Mandelson-Reid-Hain-Woolas-Blears continuum.

Anonymous said...

Doeas Liam Byrne ever do anything BUT 'act'?

I place him in the Blair-Blunkett-Milburn-Byers-Mandelson-Reid-Hain-Woolas-Blears continuum.

Changer said...

It is dreadful that not only was this hero stopped from coming here in the first place, he is still not here. The powers that be should hang their heads in shame and order a red carpet welcome for this man.

http://thetiredtory.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Excuse the Pun'?

Gareth said...

Good to see that the blogosphere reads ARRSE, it's a fantastic site. Don't forget that it has a Navy subset too in "Rum Ration", well worth a read too.

We in the military care and we care with a passion that some fail to comprehend. We deeply appreciate the sacrifices of others and hope we can do the same when duty calls. None of us knows deep down whether we can but we know we're trained and we know we will do our duty.

Put simply, if I am asked to die for my country that's ok, I am already in a compact with 60M people to do just that, it's the deal, it's the reality. That's what Pun did with no realistic hope in his mind of survival and he did it because he cares.

WE OWE HIM!!!!!

Daily Referendum said...

'The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war,no matter how justified,shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation'' --George Washington--

I wish I could tell Mr Pun how so very very sorry I am.

jailhouselawyer said...

blogfan has made a good suggestion.

anon 1.56: Pardon the Pun? Good idea he should be freed to reside in Britain at Her Majesty's Pleasure. It was after all her peace he was keeping...

What do you say Ma'am? I take it you do read this blog?

Lizzy Windsor said...

JHL: Indeed I do read this blog young man. I am disgusted to refer to this lot as Her Majesty's Government! Blair's legacy will end in the Bloody Tower if there is not a U Turn on this disgraceful state of affairs.

Harlsbottom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harlsbottom said...

So, Tul Bahadur Pun is a VC veteran of the 2nd Chindit Expedition, presumably as part of "Mad" Mike Calvert's 77th Brigade which suffered 50% casualties in capturing Mogaung.

Hopefully there haven't been others like him who have been refused entry before but were never noticed. Probably has happened, under Tories and Labour governments alike, and it's a crying shame.

Gareth said...

Harlsbottom,

good on you for researching the work of the Chindits. The deprivation they suffered to get behind Japanese lines beggars belief. the Chindits, like the Long Range Desert Group, were the founding fathers of our exceptional special forces. The Chindits in particular led the way for the Royal Marine's famous "hearts and minds" campaign in Malaya.

To put it bluntly, this man suffered deprivation and pain on behalf of our country and was clearly willing to sacrifice his life for our way of life. That we reward him with such rejection makes me want to vomit. What a sad, pathetic country we have become that we cannot embrace and celebrate our heros.

Anonymous said...

Now the flower show has finshed and it's peaceful again, perhaps they could find a room for him at the Chelsea Hopital. I take it he is qualified for residence.

G Eagle Esq said...

Well done, Iain

Harlsbottom said...

Gareth, to be fair the LRDG were a fairly small group of very knowledgable volunteers who were very well equipped considering all that went on in North Africa.
The Chindits for the most part were a mixture of old timers and draftees asked to do a very impressive task with often precarious resources.

I don't know whether Mr Pun was a volunteer, but the Gurkhas, the Indian army, the British Army and the Empire troops were all doing a job which had they been in the ETO they'd have been parachute or special service troops - i.e. exceptionally highly trained, well-supplied men.

Which really makes Pun's achievement stand out all the more, like the efforts of all his comrades. I'm sure you know that already though!

Jess The Dog said...

Well done to Iain for highlighting this issue again. The public is 100% behind the war hero Mr Pun, and there is only one honourable course of action open to the government.

A petition calling on the PM to allow Mr Pun to live in the UK will be launched soon on the Downing Street website....assuming the spin doctors don't try and kill it off.

Lets hope this is raised at PMQs.

David said...

Where is our Pinochet?

jus' passin' thru' said...

jailhouse......

You're working on a Bank Holiday and for a good cause too.

Well done. Keep it up.

Although your personal debt to society can never really be paid, it pleases me to see that you are as outraged at Mr. Pun's situation as I am.

I support you in your efforts.

Anonymous said...

John Gaunt did his whole morning show on this days before 5 live jumped on the bandwagon Iain. Not only did he cover the story he got on to the Downing St page.

tonemcd said...

War hero - no

Romanian Beggars - yes

What a country we have become...

Roger Thornhill said...

To me it is just another spiteful example of the self-loathers and, frankly, a hijacking of our Immigration Dept.

Michael Hewlett said...

Well done Iain on highlighting this issue and supporting links. It is good to see the Tory blogosphere leading from the front on important issues. Highlights once again that internet based groups can hopefully influence public opinion.

Marquee Mark said...

Ian,

Thanks for flagging this up. Your blog was the first place I saw it mentioned. Good to see you have a well developed sense of decency. I hope it helps get the right result. Gordon Brown's silence is deafening, though. Doesn't auger well...

This hero should just get on a plane to Heathrow - and defy the Govt. to deport him when he arrives.

Anonymous said...

I've just heard the Meridian early evening news piece on this affair. Apparently an appeal will be possible, but not until August!

Why can't somebody with authority in our Government cut across "procedures" and sort this shameful behaviour out NOW, and get this gentleman onto a plane to the UK immediately, at our expense not his.

Ivan said...

Shame on all of us!! Expedite now & aford the gentleman due dignity.