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Capt. Saurabh Kalia: Even after sacrificing his life why he will never get justice?

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By Ila Garg

Kargil War Heroes – Part 7

Captain Saurabh Kalia would have been 39 years old today. But he chose otherwise. His tale is heart-rending. He was subjected to the most brutal form of torture by the Pakistan Army. Even after 16 years, his parents continue to seek justice for him. How can our country afford to be this heartless?

He was a brave son of this nation and he proved to be extraordinary. Born in Amritsar, he was the son of Mrs. Vijaya and Dr. N. K. Kalia. He was a brilliant student and was selected in Indian Military Academy in 1997. Later, he was commissioned in December 1998. His first posting was in the 4 JAT Regiment in the Kargil Sector, along with five other soldiers – Arjun Ram, Bhikha Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh.

Capt. Saurabh Kalia was the first Indian army officer to observe and report large-scale intrusion of Pakistani Army and foreign mercenaries on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) at Kargil. On May 15, 1999, he and his men got engaged in a continuous cross fire with the Pakistan Army across the LoC. After running out of ammunition, they were encircled by a platoon of Pakistani rangers and subsequently, captured alive.350x350_IMAGE40258689

For 22 days (May 15, 1999 – June 7, 1999), they were held in captivity where they were exposed to third-degree torture. On June 9, 1999, their bodies were sent back to India with their eardrums pierced with hot rods, eyes punctured and removed, most of the teeth and bones broken, and limbs and genitals cut or chopped off. This created widespread stir among the denizens as these prisoners of war were treated in violation to the Geneva Convention on treatment of war prisoners.

The Deputy High Commissioner of the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi was summoned on June 15, 1999, and a notice of breach of the Geneva Convention was submitted for the torture and killing of the prisoners of war. The Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh raised the issue with Sartaj Aziz, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan for the identification and punishment of the guilty, but Pakistan continued to deny all the charges. On top of it, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik went on record to say that Capt. Saurabh Kalia and others died because of extreme weather conditions.

However, just like yesterday’s news dies out today, he was forgotten by the nation. But his father continues to hold on to the lamp alone for the past 16 years.

Captain’s family kept trying for justice in this case. His father wants the act to be declared a war crime by the UN and is leaving no stone unturned to get the people responsible for the war crimes punished. However, the government seems to be unperturbed even after numerous letters to the Centre to pursue the matter with the world body.

Britain: We are seeking from the Indian Army a full report of the post-mortem, unfortunately without any success so far.
Israel: Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Pakistan.
Germany: They had contacted the ministry of external affairs and had not received a reply.
Pakistan denied the torture of the six soldiers and rejected India’s demand to punish the guilty.

Even after selflessly sacrificing his life for the nation at an age of 22, there are chances that Capt. Saurabh Kalia might never get the justice that he deserves. The government won’t want Kashmir being dragged in UN court after all. The Modi government has thus decided to bury the case completely as they don’t want their relations with the “neighbouring country” being hampered because of this. In an official statement, the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that the government had “conventionally held the position that India and Pakistan cannot invoke the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in relation to disputes concerning armed conflicts, hostilities etc. and as they are both members of the Commonwealth”.

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Kargil martyr Capt. Saurabh Kalia’s parents with a photograph of their son.

A year ago, a YouTube video of a Pakistani soldier admitting that the 32-year-old Indian Army officer was tortured and killed during the 1999 Kargil war, went viral but all the efforts seem to be going in vain.

“I am ashamed of being an Indian. The country has spineless leaders,” said N. K. Kalia. Recently, he has filed a petition in his pursuit of justice. Following the petition filed by his father, N. K. Kalia, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre to seek a response within ten weeks.

He fought bravely, risking his life, leaving his family behind and yet, this is what he got in return. We’re a population of approximately 1.252 billion. Can’t we come together to do our bit for our soldiers? Are we so thankless? To support a father’s fight for justice, you can sign the online petition here: http://chn.ge/1HpuRwr

Some personal belongings of Capt Saurabh Kalia. Pictures taken at Saurabh Museum, Palampur:

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More in this segment:

Kargil War Heroes – Part 1
Kargil War Heroes – Part 2
Kargil War Heroes – Part 3
Kargil War Heroes – Part 4
Kargil War Heroes – Part 5
Kargil War Heroes – Part 6
Kargil War Heroes – Part 8
Kargil War Heroes – Part 9
Kargil War Heroes – Part 10
Kargil War Heroes – Part 11
Kargil War Heroes – Part 12
Kargil War Heroes – Part 13
Kargil War Heroes – Part 14
Kargil War Heroes – Part 15

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This Summer Visit 5 Most Incredible Places In Leh With Your Family And Friends

Check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple

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5 Incredible Must Visited Places In Leh
5 Incredible Must Visited Places In Leh, Flickr

Leh is a Himalayan village that expands over 45100 sq.kms. in the Jammu & Kashmir state of India. The expanse of the village is covered by three parallel mountain ranges, namely the Zanskar, Karakoram and the Ladakh ranges. Between these ranges flow three prominent rivers – Indus, Shyok and Zanskar. The valleys of these rivers are where the communities of Leh live in. Once a capital that housed the Royal family of Ladakh, Leh is now one of the prominent tourist attractions in India. It lies around 3500 metres above sea level, with a climate that is often paralleled to that of a cold desert. Being mountainous with the snow covered stretches, it is the most beautiful summer vacation spot in the North of India. If planning a vacation with your partner, you can check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple and enjoy a great trip without any hassle.

The Old Town of Leh was added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of the 100 most endangered sites due to climate change. The roads to Leh get blocked multiple times every year by snowfalls.

Snow-capped peaks and flowery valleys are the natural beauty of Leh, while colourful flags around the place lure in the most adventurous of travellers from all around the world. A trip to Leh is truly a getaway from the hustle and bustle of cities and into the wild isolation and peace that these mountain tops offer. It is perfect for those who are on a soul-searching journey or simply looking for a break from everyday life. Here are five destinations in Leh which you shouldn’t miss out when you are vacationing there. They account for the whole unique experience of Leh and Ladakh.

Khardung-la pass
Khardung-la pass, Flickr

 

  • Khardung-la Pass

 

Leh is snow covered during most parts of the year. It lies in the shadows of the great Himalayas. The Khardung La pass in Leh is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. It offers mesmerising views of the whole Leh Valley from a height of around 5359 metres above sea level. Surrounded by mountains, the road was opened in 1988 and is maintained by the Indian Army. The Kahrdung La pass is a gateway to two of the magnificent valleys in Leh – the Nubra Valley and the Shyok Valley. It is also a gateway to the famous Siachen glacier, one of the coldest places on Earth where entry is restricted to people due to its strategic prominence. It attracts tourists for the dangerous and exciting drive the pass offers. The most adrenaline driven of the riders go all the way up to the pass on motorcycles. The pass is mostly covered in snow, and it is not easy to be traversed at every time of the year.

Bike rider at Pangong lake
Bike rider at Pangong lake, pixabay

 

  • Pangong Lake

Pangong-Tso is the Tibetan name for the high grassland lake. Situated at an altitude of 4350 metres, it is 134 km long lake that extends to over both Indian and Tibetan Chinese lands. During winters it freezes completely, despite being saline in nature. Thus, the best time to visit the lake is during the summer when the waters are cool but flowing. It is home and breeding ground to a number of migratory birds such as the Bar-headed goose and the Black-necked cranes, seagulls and Brahmini ducks.

Pangong is an endorheic lake. It means that the lake does not flow out into rivers or oceans. Rather it forms a vast closed in water body which spreads over around 600 sq.kms. The lake is situated at a five-hour distance from the town of Leh. The journey itself can be a mesmerising experience for the travellers. You drive over the Chang La pass to get the first view of the shining waters that seem to stretch out limitlessly before you. It is a paradise for photography lovers. One of the most alluring things about the Pangong Lake is that it keeps changing colours. Adventure lovers also have the option to camp overnight along the shores of the lake.

Magnetic hills
Magnetic hills, flickr

 

  • Magnetic Hill

 

The Magnetic Hill or the Gravity Hill is located at a distance of 30 km distance from Leh.  It is a stretch of road in the Leh-Kargil Highway which is known to have magnetic properties that can pull cars uphill. However, in reality, the effect is an optical illusion. Stationary vehicles get pulled up in this part of the Highway. Warning boards placed along the road tell you what to do once you get closer to the road. The vehicle should be put in a neutral gear as you stop by the hill and then on you can move only at a speed of 20km per hour.

The hill lies at an altitude of 14,000 feet from the sea level in the Trans-Himalayan region. The river Sindhu flows along the Eastern side of the Magnetic Hills. The view thus provided by nature is nothing short of spell-binding.

Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley, flickr

 

  • Nubra Valley

 

The Nubra Valley in Leh is formed at the meeting point of the Shyok and the Siachen river. It separates Ladakh and the Karakoram ranges and lies at an altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level. The valley can be accessed through the Khardung La pass. The region is highly protected and requires special permits to be visited, for both Indian and Foreign nationals. The town of Diskit in Nubra Valley has 32 metres high Maitreya Buddha statue. The Diskit Buddhist monastery was built in AD 1420. The remote village of Hundar in Nubra Valley is the geographical border of India. It is restricted to tourists since 2010. Hundar is known for the dunes amidst the Himalayan ranges, where camels are seen to graze. The extremes of nature thus meet in the Nubra Valley.

Kargil
Kargil, flickr

 

  • Kargil

 

A historically significant place, Kargil is a land with great stories to tell, prominent of which is the Kargil war of 1999. It also happens to be the second largest town in Leh. The Central Asian Museum of Leh is located in the Kargil Valley. It offers a closer look at the history of the land, both ancient and modern. From the Museum, you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the deep river valley of Kargil.

Also read: Manali-Leh reopens for motorists

Now that you are done reading, take your loved one on a journey to this magical land. Get a Leh Ladakh package for couple today and start packing! (IANS)