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Updated: November 29, 2012 02:35 IST

Will slain Kargil Captain’s father get justice?

Chander Suta Dogra
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Captain Saurabh Kalia. File photo
Captain Saurabh Kalia. File photo

A Supreme Court petition demanding that the government take the case of the alleged torture and murder of six Indian Army men in Pakistan during the Kargil war to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) may flounder, legal experts say. They point out that the government’s own stated position in the 1971 Prisoner of War case is that Pakistani concurrence would be required for such a move.

Dr. N.K. Kalia, father of Captain Saurabh Kalia, a Kargil martyr who was made captive and, according to the Government of India’s own statements, subjected to brutal torture by the Pakistan Army in 1999, has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Central government to take up his son’s case with the ICJ. Pakistan has consistently denied that it had tortured the six men or even that they had been held in custody.

The government, on Tuesday, while describing the fate that befell Kalia and five other soldiers as “completely unacceptable,” said it would do “whatever is possible” in the case. Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister, told reporters, “This is a matter we have taken up at the highest level over the years.”

Earlier, in the case of 54 missing Prisoners of War of the 1971 conflict with Pakistan, the government’s position was that it was trying to resolve the matter without third-party mediation. The government told the Gujarat High Court that was hearing a petition: “There is no scope of passing any direction upon the Union of India to refer the dispute before the International Court of Justice as such a reference can be made only on the joint prayer of both the countries and thus it is not possible for the Indian government alone to approach the International Court of Justice without the concurrence of the Government of Pakistan.”

The High Court rejected this stand and directed the government to approach the ICJ. But in May of this year, based on the government’s plea, the Supreme Court stayed the operations of this aspect of the Gujarat High Court judgment.


Says Maj. Navdeep Singh (retd.), an advocate on military matters: “The sympathy shown by ministers and politicians in Capt. Kalia’s case is ironic when the government has itself expressed its unwillingness to this effect in a similar case, on affidavit and oath, before the SC.”

On May 9, 1999, Capt. Kalia, was leading a patrol of the 4 Jat Regiment in the Kaksar region of Kargil when he and five other soldiers were caught by Pakistani intruders. On June 14, their bodies were handed over to the Indian Army. The government said, following the post-mortem, that the bodies were brutally mutilated and bore torture marks.

Since then, Dr. Kalia has approached several agencies, including the Armed Forces Tribunal, seeking justice. “Thrice I approached the President of India, but each time I have received the standard reply that the case is being forwarded to the appropriate authority,” he told The Hindu. The Armed Forces Tribunal dismissed his case on the ground that the case did not come under its jurisdiction.

Gen. V.P. Malik (retd.), the Army Chief during the Kargil war, told The Hindu: “We wanted that the post-mortem of the bodies should be done by the International Committee of the Red Cross or the Indian Red Cross, but both bodies refused. Once the post-mortems done by our own doctors showed the inhuman torture they had been subjected to, I gave the report to Jaswant Singh, the then Defence Minister, who then briefed the press.”

Says Jas Uppal, the U.K. based human rights lawyer who has been advising Dr. Kalia to approach the Supreme Court: “We are focusing on gross international breaches and violation of rules of engagement during war by Pakistan which amounts to a war crime.” Mr. Uppal told The Hindu: “The international community needs to investigate and prosecute this case.”


Notice to Centre in Kargil martyr caseDecember 14, 2012

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even though we won the kargil war, we lost so many soldiers.
a soldier getting killed in battlefield is understandable, but this behavior of pakistan of torturing and killing is not acceptable.
GOI should have taken this to international court and made sure the world knows about the practices of these terrorist nation

from:  sudhanva
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 13:54 IST

And why exactly will the torturing party be willing to be a joint prayer to the ICJ. Will they say, "Hey look, I tortured this guy and I want to file a suite against myself"? Why did the Govt. sign such a deal with Pakistan?

from:  Abhimanyu
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 12:29 IST

We live in a country where poor administrators, who care less for the benefactors of the country, run the show.
Citizens of India should ask these administrators to act to get Pakistan punished for its war crimes like torturing captured Indian soldiers in Kargil war
The politicians and beaureacrats are thick skinned to act on this matter.Any other country would have reacted sharply in similar situations.
When I heard that Capt Nachketa of Indian Air Force was captured in Pakistan during Kargil war, I had remained on fast for full day for his safe return to India as I already knew how another pilot tortured by Pakistan and sent his body to India.
Once again, I say Indians should ensure that Pakistan gets punished for its war crimes.

from:  Rajarao
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 08:33 IST

Its a tragedy that the Indian army does not even have a proper photo profile of these martyrs. The lives of indian soldiers who get killed is just statistics.
Atleast steps should be taken to have proper photographs and filing system in this modern age. Especially for an IT developed nation like India

from:  shiva
Posted on: Nov 29, 2012 at 06:35 IST
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