An LPG agency allotted to the parents of Saurabh Kalia would not compensate for the irreparable loss they’ve suffered. A statue erected in Amritsar would not bring the pride back. A nursing college built as memorial in Palampur would not heal the wounds of his parents. “Saurabh Van Vihar’ would never have any Saurabh come there for a stroll.
He might be an inspiration to many Amits, Akshays, Puneets and Neerajs to join the Indian Army and don olive green; he was certainly NO top gun in the politics or industry. He and his family paid the price for belonging to the most downtrodden species in India – Common Man.
I might seem like a blogger with forked tongue to be spitting venom against our current political class over and over again. However, I feel shattered to discover that it’s not only our political class that has repeatedly produced its evidences of political impotence against Pakistan. There is one more culprit of Captain SaurabhKalia. Any guesses? To my disappointment, it’s none other than the same institution for which I have had ultimate respect for – the Indian Army.
For some of my ignorant friends, who keep busy reserving their seats in the movie halls or reading new alter ego tantrums shed by Salman Khan, here is some information for you all about the blood-freezing case.
Captain SaurabhKalia, an ex-IMA alumnus, who got commissioned in Indian Army in 1998 got his first posting in the 4 JAT Regiment (Infantry) in the Kargil Sector. Zealously guarding “Bajrang Post” at the height of 14,000 feet, Kalia was the first army officer to have reported large-scale intrusion of Pakistani Army and foreign mercenaries in Indian side of LoC (Kargil). On one of the routine patrols in Kaksar sector at Ladakh, he along with other five soldiers entered into a scuffle with Pakistan armed forces. The brave captain and his troop ran out of ammunition. Soon after, a platoon of Pakistan rangers captured them before Indian troops could reach for their rescue. For 22 days in a row, these captivated soldiers were meted out a barbarous treatment, a treatment beyond all peripheries of humanity. After being subjected to extreme torture (that one cannot even possibly think of), their mutilated bodies were handed over to India by the Pakistan army on June 9, 1999. Their postmortem report lays bare the fact that the Pakistan army had burnt their bodies with cigarettes, punctured ear-drums with hot rods, pierced eyes before removing them, dismantled most of the teeth and bones, fractured their skulls, chopped their lips, nose, limbs and private organs of these soldiers before firing bullet wound to the temple. [Source: Wikipedia and Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s (MP) letter to the External Affairs Minister, India].
What a tragic incident!The mere thought of such physical and mental torture inflicted to these soldiers rips my soul apart. I fall short of words to condemn the obvious. But more than that, I lash out on our incapable political class that has the gutsy quality deep imbibed in them to do multi-million dollars scams and then stash that plundered wealth of common man in their Swiss bank accounts, but are mere lookey loos when it’s the occasion of raising such an important issue fearlessly against Pakistan on a World Forum.
Next, I question our “otherwise so responsible” media houses. Except Times Now spearheaded by Arnab Goswami, which other channel has flashed this story even a few times since 1999? Being a politically enlightened citizen keeping a hawk’s eye on all the news channels, at least I do not remember any other news channel debating this issue in the recent past. Well, I can understand the issue of TRPs or may be their glamour-struck prying eyes are too busy monitoring Shahrukh-Salman’s spats. I duly understand that Captain Saurabh Kalia’s news must not have had stirred such interest or garnered high TRPs for them.
This tragic case that has made a father run like crazy from courts to varied national and international organizations for not one or two but 16 long years to seek help in raising this issue on an international level to make Pakistan apologize for treating the prisoners of war (POWs) with ultimate brutality and defying Geneva convention. Don’t trust me? Look at some of the replies that Dr. Kalia (Captain Saurabh Kalia’s father) has received from some of the embassies:
Britain: We are seeking from the Indian Army a full report of the postmortem, unfortunately without any success so far.
Germany:They had contacted the ministry of external affairs and had not received a reply.
In the last 2—3 days after Times Now held a Newshour debate on this sensitive case, I see a lot of reactions coming in from different sections of political class, senior Army officials and some prominent personalities. A lot of mumbo jumbo!
I heard Army chief saying that Army has repeatedly raised concerns on Kalia’s death and written to Ministry of Defence and the National human rights commission (NHRC). For the first time ever, I feel that in spite of making a tall statement of extending full support to the bereaved parents, Army has failed its standards of morality and ethics. Determination and dedicated are the traits synonymous with Indian Army. But why have these traits faded in pursuing the case of a slain martyr for 16 years?
It’s a shake-up call for the Indian Army. If such is the laid back attitude of one of the greatest military forces of the world, why does it complain of the young people turning their backs from taking up Army as a profession (or rather a way of life, as they call it!). Why should parents send their sons to serve the nation if the nation does not care about the martyrs?
There has always been a tiff between defence forces and the Government but it’s high time the men in combats rise up for their own cause. The Government rewards dead soldiers posthumously. What is that for? Doesn’t Captain Kalia’s case highlight the fact that only trophies, posthumous gallantry awards cannot salute bravery and martyrdom? They ought to be shown their due respect for the great services they render to the nation. Why do their families need to struggle for getting the allotted lands or petrol pumps? Watch the movie “Dhoop” (based on the true story of Captain Anuj Nayyar, MVC and his family) to get an idea about the struggle of the father of another martyr captain.
Indeed, it’s not just a case. It’s the question of pride of the country. Captain Kalia and other five soldiers are truly our national heroes.
It’s my appeal to the entire Indian community to stand up together, raise such a loud voice on the international platform that it gets heard and brings down Pakistan on its knees to apologize to India and vow to treat prisoners of war with respect they deserve.
Let’s get this martyr’s father the justice, that he has been fighting a lone battle for 16 years.