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Unjust Humanity
Pooja Anand
Who takes the responsibility for the brutal act of the soldiers? 29 November, 2012
With torturous death of our captured Indian soldiers in the hands of Pakistan Army and blind eye and deaf ears of our government for 13 years to a plea of an aging father, do we see humanity dying with martyrs who sacrifice their lives saving their country?

ON NOVEMBER 28, news websites carried a story about a dead soldier’s father moving to the Supreme Court after failing to receive any response from Indian and Pakistan armies, and Indian Government for 13 years.

Dr. NK Kalia, father of a Kargil war soldier Lt. Saurabh Kalia, approached the honorable Supreme Court of India to get justice by getting a ruling that declares his son’s torturous death at the hands of Pakistan army soldiers a war crime. Lt. Saurabh Kalia along with few other Indian soldiers was allegedly captured alive by Pakistan army on 15th May 1999 and kept in custody to be tortured and killed. These soldiers faced extreme tortures, which included cigarette burns, pierced ear drums with hot rods and chopped-off limbs and private organs before finally being shot dead in cold blood. His mutilated dead body, which clearly showed torture marks, was handed over to his family by the Pakistan army.

As per Dr. Kalia, he has been fighting a lonely and result-less battle by appealing to the two armies and Indian Government since 13 long years but has received no response except for a standard statement that they have received his letter and they would revert soon with appropriate answer to it. After a long and fruitless wait he has moved to the Supreme Court in the hope of getting justice. And now when he moves to Supreme Court, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh tweets, "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?" The question that arises after reading his tweet is why bother now to comment on this issue when the Indian government has been sitting on it and has been giving a deaf ear since last so many years and that too on a social networking website? Or is it nearing of general elections that caused ruling party to respond to it now?

So does this mean that every citizen whoever wants his appeal to be responded has to wait till general elections, because it seems that is the only time when due to fear of loss of vote bank the ruling party would take any action or respond. Also by tweeting, do we need to understand that our government is going hi-tech as it has started acting upon what is posted on Facebook and responds to the petitions on Twitter? Is this how a martyr’s killing should be dealt with? It means now everyone, including our ageing parents and grandparents, literate and illiterate, should have a Facebook and a Twitter account hoping their appeals would be responded electronically?

On the other hand, I would say Digvijaya Singh was not totally wrong by making that statement; it has always been a fashion to corner current government on mistakes done by previous government. He just happens to be protecting himself and his government. But, the way he has responded to Mr. Kalia’s action is what annoyed me and is an issue of concern. Doesn’t a martyr, who died protecting Digvijaya Singh, me, you and our country, deserve respect and recognition? The least Digvijaya Singh could do was be courteous and careful while responding? Couldn’t he make a public statement or meet Dr. Kalia regarding the government’s response? Isn’t the government responsible enough to come out publically and respond to a 13-year-long running case of a dead soldier of our country who was tortured? Doesn’t tweeting give a feeling the issue is being handled casually and insults the morale of the family and mocks the death of the soldier?

Now coming to the point upon which Dr. Kalia has approached the court. The case is to pass a ruling that would direct the Central Government of India to take Pakistan to International Court of Justice (ICJ) so as to force Pakistan army to bring those Pakistani soldiers, who were responsible for tortures, under trial and punish them. But can we see anything in this regard happening anytime soon? Can anybody actually do anything about this issue? Is it a problem faced by Indian soldiers' families only? By raising these questions I don’t intend to take away from the scar of Lt. Saurabh’s father and in no way demeaning his pain, but don’t we see that happening in every war year after year? For instance, ruthless Mughal soldiers used to rape women when they invaded a territory, Gothic soldiers used to behead enemy soldiers and stick them on poles to inflict fear and so on. For all those who have advanced as a human race in this regard can well search the Internet to find pictures of US soldiers raping Iraqi women during the war in Middle East. Families, human right activists and social leaders condemn such acts always, but can a government do anything anytime when the wars involve two or more countries? Should we condemn a nation for the barbaric act of few soldiers, when these inhuman activities have been a part of a procedure followed since ages?

Digvijaya Singh can be cursed, condemned and thrashed by media. Anyway, thrashing the UPA government is the flavor of the season and the habit of ‘shooting from the mouth’ by ministers such as Kapil Sibal, Digvijaya Singh doesn’t do any good either. Now nobody expects anything intelligent coming from them, least sensible but the real issue is not about aged politicians, intelligence or sensitivity, the issue extends to where the entire human race becomes insensitive and a group of soldiers become a group of mercenaries.

I am no expert in the field of international politics, but by common sense what seems to be a possible solution to these acts of barbarism is global unity of countries in formulation of an International law. The law at the UN level should deal with strict rules and regulations on the treatment of war criminals, soldiers captured during a war, and citizens of the warring nations. Otherwise in absence of a standard international pact or law, warring nations would keep getting away with a simple explanation of collateral damage or by giving some diplomatic replies and ignoring the barbaric acts of its soldiers.

The idea is obviously not unique and this is not the first time when global organizations and United Nations would work towards creating a regulation over war ethics. In the year 1997, a treaty named The Ottawa Treaty also famously known as The Mine Ban Treaty was formulated and signed by countries with aim of banning the use of anti-personnel landmines. The treaty is a partnership product of non-governmental organizations, international organizations, United Nations agencies and governments and currently has been signed by 160 nations. The committee is promoting universalization and implementation of the treaty in annual UN conferences. Though countries like India, China, Russia and United Nations have yet not signed it but what cannot be ignored is the fact that partnership work on war ethics at international level does make difference and is possible.

About The Author
A corporate lady working with one of the top technology companies, Pooja Anand takes up social work in her part time as a passion. She likes to be vocal about social injustice and inequality.
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