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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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“Yeh Dil Maange More!”..The Glorious Words Of Captain Vikram Batra

Captain Vikram Batra was one of the brave soldiers who laid down his life while serving the country

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Captain Vikram Batra was conferred Param Vir Chakra in 1999 for extraordinary act of courage. Wikimedia Commons
Captain Vikram Batra was conferred Param Vir Chakra in 1999 for extraordinary act of courage. Wikimedia Commons
  • The name of the Sher Shah or the Indian Army legend, Late Captain Vikram Batra can’t be forgotten
  • Many young Indian brave hearts of the army fought ferociously and died fearlessly in the Kargil war
  • During his college days, ‘Dimple Cheema’ was the Captain Vikram Batra’s girlfriend

“I’ll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it, but I will come for sure.”

One of the Late Captain Vikram Batra’s quotes, that sums up the spirit of Bravehearts who fight at the border.

The Kargil war with Pakistan was something that truly revealed the zeal of Indian Army to protect the borders of its mother nation and so does the determination of the men wearing that olive green uniform. Captain Vikram Batra was one of the brave soldiers who laid down his life while serving the country. The name of the Sher Shah or the Indian Army legend, Late Captain Vikram Batra can’t be forgotten.  Every Indian know his name and about the life of this martyr. The unbelievable courage and the battlefield transcended heroism defines the solid character of Captain Vikram Batra.

It was July 26, 1999, when the Indian Armed Forces won a valiant and decisive war against Pakistan. Many brave young soldiers laid down their lives in the ferocious battle, defending their nation on the inhospitable battlefield of Kargil. With his exact spirit and attitude, Captain Vikram Batra kept motivating the men of his own battalion to keep fighting during the Kargil War.

Also Read: Rani Lakshmi Bai: The Dauntless Lady of Jhansi

It’s been almost nineteen years since then, but the unparalleled courage and sacrifice of Kargil heroes are still afresh in the memory of every India. Many young Indian brave hearts of the army fought ferociously and died fearlessly.

To honour the sacrifice of gallant soldier, a hall at Service Selection Centre Allahabad is named ‘Vikram Batra Block’. Wikimedia Commons
To honour the sacrifice of the gallant soldier, a hall at Service Selection Centre Allahabad is named ‘Vikram Batra Block’. Wikimedia Commons

Early life of Captain Vikram Batra

Captain Vikram Batra was born on September 9, 1974, in Himachal Pradesh. He spent his childhood in the beautiful mountain town of Palampur. His father, Girdhari Lal Batra was a government school teacher and principal. Interestingly, he was born as one of the twins. He was elder of twin sons as he was born 14 minutes before his brother Vishal.

Captain Vikram Batra was a brilliant student who was better known as an all-rounder at school. He was immensely popular among his classmates and teachers as he was also a keen sportsman and avid participant in co-curricular activities. He held a green belt holder in karate and played table tennis at the national level.

From the very beginning, he wanted to serve his country and hence he joined NCC (National Cadet Corps). Due to his diligence and determination, he was adjudged as the best NCC cadet of north India. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in 1995, he decided to prepare for Combined Defense Services (CDS) examination. It was no surprise to his family as Captain Vikram Batra was always keen on joining the Army.

Also Read: Maharana Pratap: The Warrior With Never Say Die Attitude

Captain Vikram Batra found his love in 1995 at Punjab University in Chandigarh. ‘Dimple Cheema’ was the Captain Vikram Batra’s girlfriend during his college days. They stayed together for almost four years. Both of them had planned to get married if Vikram Batra would have returned from Kargil, but as it turned out, he never did.

Former Presiden, honorable  K. R. Narayanan presenting the Param Vir Chakra posthumous to the father of Captain Vikram Batra 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. Wikimedia Commons
India’s former President, honourable K. R. Narayanan presenting the Param Vir Chakra posthumous to the father of Captain Vikram Batra 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Life facts of the Indian Army’s daredevil will fill your heart will patriotism and valour. Have a look at some of them:

  1. Captain Vikram Batra got his primary education from his mother, who herself was a teacher.
  2. As per the statement of the then Chief of the Army staff, captain Vikram Batra would have been the General of the Indian Army staff, had he returned from the Kargil war fought between India and Pakistan in the year 1999.
  3. Captain Vikram Batra was a soldier of the Indian Army and died in the Kargil war while rescuing an injured officer in an enemy counterattack.
  4. Captain Vikram Batra laid down his life when he was only 24 years-old. He died on July 7, 1999.
  5. Under the leadership of Captain Vikram Batra on June 19, 1999, the Indian army snatched point 5140, from right under the enemy’s nose.
  6. After successfully clinching the Point 5140, Captain Vikram Batra volunteered for the next mission to recapture point 4875. The terrain was very strenuous, as the location was 17,000 feet above the sea level and 80 degrees steep.
  7. In the early hours of July 7, 1999, Captain Vikram Batra was commanding a mission to rescue an injured officer during an enemy counterattack.
  8. According to the statements of his battalion, during the rescue attempt, Captain Vikram Batra pushed aside the injured officer saying, “You have children, step aside.”
  9. Unfortunately, Captain Vikram Batra was hit by a bullet on his chest and was killed in action while clearing enemy positions
  10. As a tribute to the soldiers of the Kargil war, the movie LOC was made in 2003. R Captain Vikram Batra’s role was played by Abhishek Bachchan.
  11. Captain Vikram Batra posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra (The highest gallantry medal awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime).
  12. Captain Vikram Batra is well well known for coining the slogan “Yeh Dil Maange More!” He used it to signal the success of his mission.

To honour the sacrifice of gallant soldier, many constructions and cantonments have been named after him such as a hall at Service Selection Centre Allahabad is named ‘Vikram Batra Block’, a residential area in the Jabalpur Cantonment is called ‘Captain Vikram Batra Enclave’ and the combined cadet’s mess at the Indian Medical Association is named ‘Vikram Batra Mess’.