About a decade ago, Captain Saurabh Kalia and his five men of the 4 Jat regiment were taken captive by Pakistani troops in the icy hills of Kargil and barbarically tortured for over 22 days before their mutilated bodies were handed over to Indian authorities on June 9, 1999.
Thirteen years on, as India commemorates the military victory in Kargil (on July 26), the Kalia family has been fighting for justice as they want the ghastly act to be declared a war crime.
Saurabh’s parents NK Kalia and Vijaya have been raising their voice against human rights violations and pleading with the government to take up the issue of war crimes at the international level. But unfortunately, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“We have been shuttling between various government offices and organisations with the hope of highlighting the plight of the war victims. The Indian government has failed to deliver justice as it has forgotten atrocities meted out on six heroes. For days, they were tortured. Their limbs were chopped and bodies burnt,” NK Kalia once said.
Rajya Sabha member, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an active voice in urging the centre to take up the issue with the UN Human Rights Council, said: “It is extremely shocking and shameful that the torture of Capt Saurabh Kalia has been treated lightly and the sacrifices of the brave soldier who laid down their lives while guarding the nation has been disrespected. It is our duty to ensure that his family members do not feel that the nation does not value the sacrifices made by the braveheart.”
The Kalias have failed to understand why the government has been indifferent on taking up the scourge of war crimes at the international level as their only demand is that no prisoners of war should ever face Saurabh’s fate.
When asked what has been done to highlight the apathy meted out to the Kalia family, Mr Chandrasekhar said, “I am pursuing the issue with External Affairs Ministry to take necessary action to declare this act of brutality as a war crime, to take up the matter with the UN Human Rights Council to declare this heinous act as a war crime and move the international court of justice to expose and pressure Pakistan to identify and punish all the perpetrators of this brutal crime.”
In a letter to External affairs minister SM Krishna, Mr Chandrasekhar wrote, “On behalf of the families of these brave martyrs, I urge you to immediately intruct your Ministry to take up the matter with the UN Human Rights Council to declare this heinous act as a war crime and move the international court of justice to expose and pressure Pakistan to identify and punish all the perpetrators of this brutal crime.”
Saurabh Kalia of 4 Jat Regiment, who was the first army officer to report incursion by the Pakistani army on Indian soil, had along with five soldiers – Sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh – went for a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector when they were taken captive by the Pakistani troops on May 15, 1999.
Today, in the serene hills of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, the Kalias keep Saurabh’s memory alive by converting his room into a museum, displaying his photographs, his uniforms, shoes and mementoes.
Source: Yahoo India News
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