In a big blow to the family of Indian Army Captain Saurabh Kalia, who was tortured by the Pakistan Army in 1999 during the Kargil conflict, the Narendra Modi government has refused to move the International Court of Justice against Pakistan.
The National Democratic Alliance government has told Parliament that it has no plans to pursue the matter in the international court of law. The government now says that moving the ICJ against Pakistan, as demanded by Kalia’s family, will not be feasible.
The Centre’s decision is surely to invite wrath, as the Bharatiya Janata Party had criticised the United Progressive Alliance for not acting out.
The UPA government had in 2013 told the Supreme Court that it is bound by Simla Agreement of 1972, so it can’t treat Saurabh Kalia’s case as a war crime.
In 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia had gone out for patrol duty in Kaskar area of Kargil along with five other soldiers when he they were captured by Pakistan and subjected to brutal torture during the war.
When his mutilated body was sent to his family after 15 days, it bore signs of excessive torture. His ear drums were punctured with hot rods, his eyes were punctured and his limbs and genitals were cut off.
Reacting to the news of the NDA’s decision not to approach the ICJ, Captain Kalia’s father expressed his displeasure.
“I had expected the BJP government to be more patriotic. Sadly, the new government’s stand remains the same despite change of power at the Centre. This is amply clear from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs VK Singh’s reply to MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar’s question in Parliament,” a daily quoted NK Kalia as saying.
Image: Dr N K Kalia, in the museum dedicated to his martyred son in his home in Palampur, HP. Photograph courtesy Vaibhav Kalia