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Kargil hero dad takes torture plea to SC

Nov. 27: The father of a young officer killed in the 1999 Kargil war has moved the Supreme Court asking for directions to the government to act against Pakistan’s “war crimes”.

Although he has gone to the court 13 years after the event, N.K. Kalia, the father of Captain Saurabh Kalia, has been petitioning the Prime Minister, President and the ministries of defence, home and foreign affairs frequently.

In his petition to the Supreme Court, Kalia has sought directions to the ministries of home and external affairs so that the government may move the International Court of Justice

In May 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia was one of the earliest army casualties of what went on to become the “50-day war”. The officer of the 4 Jat unit was leading a patrol of five other soldiers in the area of Kaksar near Kargil.

There was no trace of the patrol for about three weeks till Pakistan returned the bodies of the captain and five soldiers.

Jaswant Singh, who became NDA defence minister after George Fernandes, had said the bodies were mutilated when they were received. He had supported moving the ICJ.

Kalia, 63, who retired as a senior scientist from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, says his son and the other soldiers were tortured brutally.

“They indulged in dastardly acts of burning bodies with cigarettes, piercing ears with hot rods, removing eyes before puncturing them, breaking most of the bones and teeth, chopping off various limbs and private organs of these soldiers besides inflicting unimaginable physical and mental tortures,” said Kalia.

He lives in Palampur, 120km from Shimla, with wife Vijaya.

In his petition, Kalia says torture of prisoners of war is a violation of the Geneva Convention. He has alleged that the government has been ignoring his pleas.

“I have approached three Presidents. From all of them, I have just received one standard reply: ‘Your letter has been received and would be forwarded for necessary action’,” he said.

Data collected by Kalia under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveals the government had expressed “anguish” and “anger” to Pakistan. “The government had conveyed the anguish and anger of the Indian people to the foreign minister of Pakistan during his visit to Delhi on June 12, 1999. An aide-memoire was also handed to Pakistan on June 15, 1999. However, Pakistan denied our claims,” the RTI reply said.

Kalia’s petition has found support from MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar who is in the parliamentary standing committee on the defence ministry. Foreign minister Salman Khurshid said: “Whatever is possible will be done. The matter is now before the Supreme Court”.