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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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World’s Oldest serving Aircraft Carrier ‘INS Viraat’ set to retire from Indian Navy

Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain's Royal Navy as HMS Hermes

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Warship INS Viraat, Wikimedia

India, March 6, 2017: The world’s oldest aircraft carrier in service, the INS Viraat,is set to retire on Monday from the Indian Navy.

On Monday evening, the Naval flag atop the ship, also known as the “grand old lady”, will be lowered and wrapped at sunset, marking an end to its long journey of 55 years, including 30 years in the Indian Navy.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram. 

Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain’s Royal Navy as HMS Hermes.

In 1984, it was decommissioned from the Royal Navy and subsequently was commissioned by the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.

The ship has seen a series of aircraft operate from its decks, including the the Sea Harrier, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetaks.

Under the Indian Flag, various aircraft have flown more than 22,034 hours from the decks of the INS Viraat which implies that the carrier has been at sea for over six years covering the entire globe about 27 times.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

The ship played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka and Operation Vijay in 1999 during the Kargil War.

The last operational deployment of the ship was at the International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) in Visakhapatnam. (IANS)

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Pakistan was preparing to use nukes during Kargil war: Ex-White House Official

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Image: Wikipedia

New Delhi: Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use against India during the 1999 Kargil war when its army was suffering heavy casualties at the hands of the latter, the CIA had warned then President Bill Clinton, a former top White House official has said.

The CIA briefed Bill Clinton in this regard in July 4, 1999 when the president was scheduled to meet the visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif had rushed to Washington and sought a meeting with Clinton in the wake of heavy losses suffered by Pakistani army by their Indian counterparts, looking for an honorable exit when a defeat seemed imminent.

“The morning of the Fourth (of July, 1999), the CIA wrote in its top-secret Daily Brief that Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use. The intelligence was very compelling. The mood in the Oval Office was grim,” Bruce Riedel, who worked at the time in the National Security Council of the White House and was among the few present at the Clinton-Sharif meeting said, NDTV reported.

ALSO READ: How India, Pakistan can avoid nuclear war

Riedel made the revelations in an obituary he wrote for Sandy Berger, former national security advisor to Clinton, who died of cancer on Wednesday.

“Berger urged Clinton to hear out Sharif, but to be firm… Pakistan started this crisis and it must end it without any compensation. The president needed to make clear to the prime minister that only a Pakistani withdrawal could avert further escalation,” he wrote.

“Sandy knew Clinton better than anyone, his natural inclination was to find a deal. This time, no deal was possible, it must be an unequivocal Pakistani climbdown,” Riedel said.

“It worked. Sharif agreed to pull back his troops. It later cost him his job: The army ousted him in a coup and he spent a decade in exile in Saudi Arabia. But the risk of a nuclear exchange in South Asia was averted,” Riedel wrote.

(With inputs from agencies)

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SC dismisses plea for probe into Kargil war purchases

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea for investigation into purchase at inflated price of caskets for soldiers martyred during the Kargil war and other items since the issues had been decided by trial courts.

An apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice V. Gopala Gowda declined the plea as counsel S Balasubramanian appearing for the Centre told the court that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arraigned one Victor Baiza in the aluminium casket purchase case, but he was discharged by the court of metropolitan magistrate.

Similarly, Balasubramanian said, the CBI investigated the charges of wrongdoing in the purchase of Krasonpol ammunition, found nothing and filed a closure report that too was accepted by a trial court.

Balasubramanian said that allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase of snow suits were based on mere apprehensions as no contract was entered into and consequently no money was paid.

KG Dhananjay Chauhan moved the apex court for investigation into the alleged wrongdoings in the purchases done during the Kargil war in 1999 and sought putting in place a transparent procedure for the purchase of defence material.

The plea for investigation into the alleged scams had become infructuous in the wake of lower courts’ decisions, the apex court said.

(IANS)