Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Will Soul of Captain Saurabh Kalra Ever Get Justice?


Since the prehistoric times, the war-time crimes have been occurring whenever a warring party wins it. The winner takes all the wealth of the losing party and does all the cruel things on its soldiers. It continued at the time of World Wars I & II. In this aspect, the concentration camps run by infamous Nazi ruler Adolf Hitler comes to everybody's mind. Since then checks and balances are put in place to ensure the civilized behavior of the captors. In the modern times, the issues involving the war crimes on the war-time prisoners have been decently handled by different countries, as they are under the jurisdiction of Internal Court of Justice.

war prisoners

Atrocities on Captain Saurabh Kalra and Other Soldiers

During the early days of Indo-Pak war of 1999, the Captain Saurabh Kalra was leading a patrolling contingent that was manning the heights of Kargil. At that point in time, those heights were captured by the Pakistani Rangers in a clandestine move in the early days of summer that year.  They were captured by the Pakistani Rangers as prisoners of war and kept in detention for several days and tortured.  Due to the inhuman torture meted out to the captured soldiers, they died in detention after a few days. The Pakistani Soldiers then vented their anger on the India and Indian soldiers by mutilating the body of Captain Saurabh Kalra. They later handed over the bodies to Indian soldiers manning Indian side of LOC.
captain saurabh kalra

Indian Reactions to Atrocities by Pakistani Soldiers

After a log of hue and cry in the society and media, the Indian government of the day decided to raise the issue at the ministerial and secretary levels. Then Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid met the then Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz. Throughout the trial by media and the foreign respondents, Pakistan maintained that the Indian soldiers died of natural causes due to the exposure to the cold conditions in heights of the Himalayas on the Pakistani side. The Indian governments that came after the war maintained consistently that they were not able to proceed further in view of the moderating relationship between the neighboring country.

Efforts of Army Officer's Family and Human Rights Group

Despite the resistance meted out by successive Indian governments in the name of foreign policy and the fear deterioration of climate of friendship if the matter was pursued in International Court of Justice, the family members of Captain Kalra and other soldiers kept up their ante. This caught the attention of some of the Human Rights groups. With their help, the families of the affected soldiers kept the heat in the media channels to force the incumbent government at the Centre to review the view expressed by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance(UPA) at the Supreme Court of India. Two years back, the UPA government confided that it would not be able to go for justice at International Court of Justice as it would be against the principles of friendship signed as part of Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan.

captain's family

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the government of the day has decided to go to the International Court seeking justice for brave soldiers of Indian army who laid their lives for our country. For this purpose, the government has decided to take the permission of the apex court on whose bench a petition is pending. If the government gets the go ahead signal from the honorable supreme court, it would file a complaint at International Court of Justice. It remains to be seen how the things play out in the coming days.

Thuruvananthapuram New Delhi, Delhi, India
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