By Vishal Gulati
Palampur (Himachal Pradesh): The father of the Indian soldier tortured and mutilated in the Kargil conflict has no hopes from the not so sympathetic Pakistan.
“We pin our hopes only on the Supreme Court rather than on Pakistan,” N.K. Kalia, 64, told here Sunday.
Kalia’s comments came after visiting Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said it was not clear if a bullet or the weather had led to the death of Capt. Saurabh Kalia.
The young Kalia’s mutilated body was handed over to Indian authorities by Pakistani soldiers during the 1999 Kargil conflict.
Malik later said he would have the matter investigated in Pakistan.
“His remark (on looking into the matter) is just a political gimmick,” said father Kalia, who retired as a senior scientist from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and lives here.
“If he (Malik) is a man of words, we expect he will order a probe soon after reaching back and bring to justice the perpetrators of the heinous crime,” Kalia added.
Expressing surprise over Malik’s remark that India had never taken up the issue with his government, Kalia said: “It’s a totally false assertion.
“I have gathered information through Right to Information (RTI) Act that the (Indian) government conveyed its anguish and anger to the foreign minister of Pakistan during his visit to Delhi June 12, 1999, but Malik’s feigning ignorance is shocking.”
He said the Indian foreign ministry handed an aide-memoire to Pakistan three days later.
“I don’t think Pakistan will ever try the accused. For this we (India) have to build pressure on Pakistan through diplomatic channels, otherwise we do not hope that justice will be done,” he said.
The aggrieved father said no Pakistani official had ever tried to contact him since the incident occurred.
“Pakistani functionaries say something and do something else. They also more influenced by internal politics rather than the plight of a father losing his son who did not even live long enough to receive his first pay packet,” an emotional Kalia added.
Kalia has approached the Supreme Court with a plea that the government should refer the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Supreme Court judges R.M. Lodha and Anil R. Dave Friday gave the central government 10 weeks to respond.
Capt. Kalia was posted on the icy heights of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir after he got commissioned into the 4 Jat regiment.
In May 1999, he along with five soldiers — Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh — was on a patrol of the Bajrang Post in Kaksar sector in Indian territory when they were seized by Pakistani troops masquerading as the mujahideen.
They were tortured for weeks before being killed. Their mutilated bodies were handed over to India June 9, 1999.
The autopsy report of the captain and the other soldiers revealed extreme brutality.
There were marks of burns with cigarettes, the ear drums had been pierced with hot rods, and limbs and private organs chopped off, and then the soldiers were shot dead.