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Nov 28, 2012 at 11:26am IST

Thirteen years on, will Kargil hero Lt Saurabh Kalia get justice as his family moves SC?

New Delhi: Thirteen years on and still no justice for Kargil hero Lt Saurabh Kalia who was captured by Pakistan during the war in 1999. His mutilated body bearing torture marks was later sent to his family after 15 days. His father Dr NK Kalia, who approached the Supreme court, is now demanding that the court direct the Centre to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan.

The family wants that the torture of their son be declared a war crime and also want Pakistan to apologise. But despite his appeals, Dr Kalia says the government has done nothing. Dr Kalia said, "The then Prime Minister and Defence Minister had promised to take up the issue. Why have they not done so?" Lt Saurabh Kalia's mother said, "We didn't get justice for the past 13 years and so we were forced to go to the Supreme Court."

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Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday tweeted and said, "The government of India must take up the case of Lt Saurabh Kalia with the government of Pakistan. Did the then NDA government raise the issue with Pakistan?"

Jaswant Singh, who was the External Affairs Minister at the time, condemned the incident and said, "I was personally anguished. As a former soldier I felt my body had been violated. This is totally unacceptable."

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "This is an extremely, extremely sad story. But having expressed our deep distress and concern, we haven't got an adequate response from Pakistan. I express my deep respect to the family. He, in a sense, was a sentinel. Whatever is possible will be done. Matter is before the Supreme Court." Lt Kalia of the 4 Jat Regiment and five other soldiers of his patrolling team were captured alive on May 15, 1999 and kept in captivity where they were tortured and their bodies mutilated. Khurshid said the incident was an extremely distressing event and such violations were completely unacceptable even in times of war.

Reacting to the reports, the Defence Ministry said it was going through its records and will take appropriate action in this regard. Dr NK Kalia has alleged that his son Lt Saurabh Kalia was captured as a prisoner of war but was killed in a gruesome manner in violation of the Geneva Convention.

The petition filed through his advocate has alleged that despite making several representations to the government no steps have been taken to raise the killing at the ICJ. Kalia along with five soldiers - Sepoys Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh - of the regiment had gone for a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector in Ladakh. They were encircled and captured by Pakistani troops. Their mutilated bodies were handed over to the Indian side later.

Meanwhile, in response to a letter sent by Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar on the issue, former External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had said the government had raised the matter with Pakistan and several international fora. "It is indeed unfortunate that our efforts have not borne fruit. This, however, does not in any way imply that we have forgotten our brave sons or that we are giving up efforts to ensure that the guilty responsible for perpetrating such heinous acts are brought to justice," he had said.

With Additional Inputs from PTI