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Dec 15, 2012 at 09:00am IST

Rehman Malik stirs controversy, says unsure if bullet or weather killed Captain Kalia

New Delhi: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who is on a three day visit in the country, has created controversy by claiming he is unsure whether Kargil martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia was killed by a Pakistani bullet or the weather. Within minutes of landing in New Delhi, Malik set off a storm with his comment on the case of Captain Kalia, who, along with others in his team, was brutally tortured and killed during the Kargil war.

While the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the government on the plea of Captain Kalia's father to raise the issue in the International Court of Justice, Malik, who is meeting the prime minister on Saturday, said, "when a fight is going on in the border, we really do not know whether he (Captain Kalia) died of a Pakistani bullet or weather."

Pakistan has consistently denied torture, and blamed bad weather, and a fall inside a crevice, for the death of Captain Kalia and 5 jawans in May, 1999. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said "When we had the chance, we presented the matter to Pakistan. Their response has been conveyed to the nation. We will raise the issues again if need be and if the opportunity arises."

But that has not been good enough for the Kalia family, who is still grieving for a son who met such a gruesome end. They want India to take the issue to the International Court of Justice, even though India itself is not party to the ICJ. The family is upset the Indian government has done nothing in the past 13 years to investigate war crimes or take the case up stridently at the United Nations or the ICJ.

Kalia's father, Dr NK Kalia, rejected Malik's invite to meet him and shake his hand. "If he is so sincere that he wants to shake hands with me, I would rather appeal to him to shake the Pakistani army and find out who did this crime."

After 13 years it is hard to see what Pakistan will be able to promise on investigating Captain Saurabh Kalia's case, but by raising the issue at the Home Ministers meeting, India is making it clear it would not let the issue die.