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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Kargil Vijay Diwas 20th Anniversary- ‘I vowed to fight war crimes’: Capt Saurabh Kalia’s father

20th Kargil Vijay Diwas: NK Kalia, 70, received the mutilated body of his son — one of the first casualties of the war — on June 10.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2019 11:55 IST
Naresh K Thakur
Naresh K Thakur
Hindustan Times, Dharamshala
NK Kalia stands next to a garlanded photograph of his son.
NK Kalia stands next to a garlanded photograph of his son.(HT Photo)
         

Twenty years have passed since the 1999 Indo-Kargil war, but for Captain Saurabh Kalia’s parents, the war for justice is not over.

NK Kalia, 70, received the mutilated body of his son — one of the first casualties of the war — on June 10. “Eyes punctured, eardrums pierced, vital organs chopped off and body bearing burn marks. I had never heard or seen such brutality,” said Kalia, a retired scientist who worked with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Captain Kalia of 4 Jat Regiment was 22 when he and five others went on a reconnaissance off Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector of Jammu and Kashmir to investigate reports of incursion. They were taken captive by Pakistani troops on May 15, 1999, and tortured contrary to all international conventions on war.

“The day he returned home wrapped in the tricolour, I vowed to fight for justice against war crimes. Whether we achieve success or not, this war will end with our death,” said Kalia.

He moved the top court in 2012, seeking direction to the Centre to take up his son’s case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Centre told the court in 2015 that since this was a bilateral issue between two countries, India could not raise it in ICJ without Pakistan’s consent. The matter is now pending and has not been listed for hearing in the past two years.

“Successive governments have failed to do what should have been done back in 1999. Still we are thankful what they have done for our cause and do not regret what they [haven’t done],” said Kalia. “My fight is not only for Saurabh or the five soldiers, but for the respect and honour of the Indian Armed Forces,” he added.

“Naughty [as he was called at home] was very happy when he was selected in NDA. I do not regret sending him to army. What happened to him was destiny,” said mother Vijaya, 67, who has framed the blank cheque that her son gave her before he left for his first posting.

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