The history of Saurabh Kalias' wait for justice

The Narendra Modi-led central government is reported to have said it would not take Pakistan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the brutal treatment of Indian Army Captain Saurabh Kalia by the Pakistan army during the 1999 Kargil war. It has reportedly said it is not feasible to pursue the matter in ICJ. The announcement comes as shock to the Kalias, who have been demanding justice for the past 16 years.

Here’s the story so far:

· Captain Saurabh Kalia of the 4 Jat Regiment was the first army officer to report large-scale incursions by the Pakistan army in the Kaksar area of Kargil, in 1999. He was subsequently stationed at the ‘Bajrang Post’, to keep an eye on infiltration

· On May 15, 1999, Captain Kalia, along with five others of the 4 Jat Regiment — sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh  — were attacked and captured alive during routine patrol.

· On June 9, their bodies were handed over to the Indian army, in mutilated condition. The bodies were marked with cigarette burns, ear-drums had been pierced with hot rods, eyes were punctured or removed, teeth and bones were broken, and limbs and genitals were chopped off. All injuries preceded death.

· Even though reports and broadcasts by Pakistani Radio channels had earlier said the soldiers were captured alive, Pakistan maintains they had been found dead.

· A viral video on YouTube, posted on July 31, 2013, showed a Pakistani soldier admitting he had tortured captain Kalia.

· Kalia’s father had moved the apex court seeking that the external affairs ministry file a case against Pakistan in ICJ for violating the understanding under the Geneva Convention.

· The ministry affidavit, filed by the previous government in the Supreme Court last February, said: “It is highly unlikely that Pakistan will consent to India’s proposal to submit the case to ICJ by special agreement… a state cannot be compelled without its consent to submit the dispute filed by another state to international jurisdiction.”

· While in Opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party had lashed out against the government and supporting the Kalias’ demand.

· However, replying to Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekhar’s question in Parliament, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, V K Singh, said: “The attention of the international community has already been drawn to these heinous and barbaric acts of the Pakistan Army, including through a statement to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 22, 1999, and to the Commission of Human Rights in April 2000. The possibility of seeking legal remedies through international courts was also thoroughly examined but not found feasible.”

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel