Government to Take Up Kargil Martyr Saurabh Kalia’s Case in International Court if Supreme Court Allows: Sushma Swaraj
NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that the government will ask the Supreme Court if it can move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the brutal torture of Indian Army Captain Saurabh Kalia by Pakistani forces during the Kargil war.
“We will go to the international court if the Supreme Court allows it,” Ms Swaraj said today after the Modi government came under huge criticism for taking the same stand on Captain Kalia’s killing as its predecessor, the Congress-led UPA, had.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh had told Parliament last year in reply to a question, “The possibility of seeking legal remedies through the international courts was thoroughly examined but not found feasible.”
An External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said today, “The government of India has conventionally held the position that India and Pakistan cannot invoke the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in relation to disputes concerning armed conflicts, hostilities etc and as they are both members of the Commonwealth.” He said an affidavit filed by the government stating that position had now been reviewed.
Ms Swaraj said in Udaipur, “It has been decided that the way Captain Kalia was tortured created ‘exceptional circumstances’ and therefore, the government will change its affidavit in the Supreme Court and ask whether under legal provisions it can move the ICJ.”
Captain Kalia, 25, and five other soldiers were captured alive on 15 May, 1999, by Pakistani troops when they had gone out for patrol duty in the Kaskar area of Kargil. They were kept in captivity and were subjected to unspeakable torture. Their mutilated bodies were handed over to India after 15 days.
The Captain’s father, NK Kalia moved the Supreme Court in 2012, demanding an international probe.
He said today, “We did not see any strong steps being taken in 16 years by any government” and promised to “keep raising this issue as long as I live.”
Captain Kalia’s brother Vaibhav today told NDTV that he is surprised how Pakistan can treat human beings like that. “Pakistan should apologise to humanity,” he said.
Though government has declared its intention to move the top court, officials say situation is unlikely to change because being a Commonwealth member India can’t unilaterally move the ICJ; Pakistan too will have to agree to it. Officials warned that such a move would set a “costly precedence” as it would give Pakistan a chance to raise India’s counter-insurgency operations at international level.