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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. NK Kalia

Lest We Forget…

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Capt Saurabh Kalia“Today I am proud that I have joined 4 Jat regiment and one day, 4 Jat would be proud that Saurabh Kalia joined this regiment.”

Late Capt. Saurabh Kalia, Indian Army, echoed these sentiments when he graduated from the Indian Military Academy and joined the Jat Regiment in January 1999.

Who knew then that destiny would prove him right in less than 6 months?

Today, these words came back to my mind as I was reading the news that Dr. NK Kalia, bereaved father of the Kargil martyr, along with Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha), has approached the United Nations Human Rights Council, seeking justice.

Since the memory of the commoners is short-lived, let me share what Capt. Kalia’s brother saw when he was called upon to identify his body. If I recall it right, he mentioned seeing a badly mutilated face, only distinguishable through eyebrows. Shocked to read this? Well, there were no eyes, no jaw, and what was clearly visible were the cigarette burns all over his face…

History to this – Capt. Kalia, then a newly inducted officer, took with him a patrol party of 5 men, comprising of jawans Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhikha Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh, on May 14, 1999, in the Kaksar sector. Not to be on seen alive, ever…

This patrol party went missing for nearly two months; it was on June 9, 1999 the grieving father heard that Pakistan had returned the badly mutilated bodies of six Indian soldiers.

One of those bodies was Capt. Kalia, whom his brother went on to identify.

As it were found and reported later, these officers were captured alive by the Pakistani authorities, tortured brutally for weeks and were killed dishonourably whilst under illegal detention.

Citing ‘Army rules and regulations’, the postmortem reports of these brave men were never handed over to their families.

However, this is what the Death Certificate of Capt. Kalia recorded – both eye-balls were damaged; ear drums were wounded by a gun-shot; nose, upper & lower lips were crushed; right hand, right foot, forearm & right shoulder broken; (cigarette) burns were visible all over the chest…

Add to it details noted in postmortem reports of others – their index finger was cut, their private parts were chopped; back of the head was smashed by the butt of a rifle so badly that the skull was visible…

Once done with this torture, they were shot – all six of them – alive. The Pakistani Army handed the bodies to the Indian Army on the June 6, 1999.

Then Foreign Minister, Jaswant Singh, wrote to the parents of Capt. Kalia:

“Captain Saurabh Kalia made the supreme sacrifice in the defence of our Motherland. He displayed great valour, courage and determination in the pursuit of his goal to push out the Pakistani forces… History will record Captain Kalia’s deeds in golden letters and his name will be a beacon for many generations not only for… the armed forces, but for all Indians. You have been blessed to have had such a gallant son.”

Well, that said, harsh reality is that none of these six men were given any gallantry awards.

Harsher reality – they weren’t accorded justice either…

13 years and counting, the battle of this aggrieved father is on. Encouraged by thousands of letters written to him by a grateful nation, and supported by few righteous men like Rajeev Chandrashekhar, he has refused to let the fight go down.

Failing to see successive governments do any more than offering lip-service, Dr. Kalia recently petitioned the Supreme Court of India, requesting its intervention to direct the government to raise the issue of his son’s brutal torture and murder at the International Court of Justice, for the blatant violation of the Geneva Convention by Pakistan.

Recent news reports tell me that both the current Army general and the Foreign Affairs Minister have echoed their support.

I hope and pray this, should I say, ever-offered verbal support gets converted into actions & results and the culprits are brought to book; quite like the western world, where such an atrocious and dastardly war crime would have never gone unpunished. We know that even over six decades after the World War II, the war criminals are being relentlessly uncovered, investigated and prosecuted successfully by the European nations in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

I will leave you with what Dr. Kalia said recently;

“This matter is about dignity and honour of Capt. Saurabh Kalia and five soldiers and a national issue where country’s prestige was slighted due to such heinous crimes which go unchallenged.”

Is the nation listening?


Photo-credit: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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