Saurabh Kalia would have turned 42 years old. Who is Saurabh Kalia, you ask?
He is a martyr, a great martyr.
Twenty years have passed since the torture death of Captain Saurabh Kalia at the hands of Pakistani soldiers during the Kargil War of 1999.The Kargil War.
During the Kargil War (May – June 1999), he and the soldiers from the patrol team were captured as “prisoners of war” and brutally tortured to their deaths by Pakistani forces.
What had actually happened?
On 15 May 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia and five other soldiers had gone for a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector in the treeless Ladakh Mountains. The situation escalated to such an extent that continuous firing took place between the troops of both sides. But, eventually, he and his troops ran out of ammunition and they were encircled by a platoon of Pakistani rangers and captured alive before Indian reinforcements could reach them. They were incarcerated for over three weeks and subjected to unprecedented brutal torture, authenticated from the bodies returned by Pakistan Army on 9 June, 1999.
In gross violation of the Geneva Convention the Pakistani Army subjected Captain Kalia and his soldiers to horrendous torture during which the bravehearts’ ear drums were pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burned with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were cut off.
Not everyone has forgotten this unsung hero. His personal belongings have been preserved in the museum of ‘Saurabh Smriti Kaksha’ and a street has been named as ‘Capt. Saurabh Kalia Marg’ in Palampur. Even a statue stands proud in Amritsar that was raised in his memory.
The death of these 6 soldiers from the 4 JAT battalion is the most gruesome chapter from the history of Indian army.
Dr Kalia has been waging a constant battle to get this declared a war crime in accordance with the Geneva Convention so that the guilty can be punished. He even approached the Supreme Court in 2012 seeking directions to the government to raise his son’s case in the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Dr Kalia also filed a petition with the United Nations Human Rights Council.
We the civilians should be grateful to all those wonderful souls who sacrifice their everything to keep us safe and happy.
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