Saurabh Kalia, along with 5 sepoys went on a routine patrol on the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar. For 22 days (May 15, 1999 – June 7, 1999), these brave men were tortured beyond any human imagination and then killed. After that, they were handed over to Indiaon June 9, 1999.
The postmortem revealed that the Pakistan army had tortured their prisoners by burning their bodies with cigarettes, piercing ear-drums with hot rods, puncturing eyes before removing them, breaking most of the teeth and bones, fractures of the skull, cutting the lips, chipping of nose, chopping off limbs and private organs of these soldiers besides inflicting all sorts of physical and mental tortures and finally shooting them dead, as evidenced by the bullet wound to the temple. The postmortem report also confirmed that injuries were inflicted ante-mortem (before death). [Source]
The act of handing back the mutilated bodies with a straight face by the Pakistanis at the height of Kargil War was meant to be an act of psychological warfare. It was meant to send a chill down nation’s spine. Inaction on it has meant and led to a sadistic pleasure that Pakistani Generals have enjoyed in many ways – including in case of the Mumbai Attacks.
The message through these actions have been that “We can do anything we want with Impunity, but you can’t retaliate”.
Lies and Denial
As the video suggests, the Pakistani establishment has denied, lied and aggressively pushed back on this incident. Even though everyone knows that Kargil was an act of the Pakistani Army, they still stick to the “Irregulars” or jehadis-did-it story.
After a long and hard campaign and work by Saurabh Kalia’s father on behalf of his son, it was expected that the Indian Government will bring up this issue with the Pakistani Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, now that he is here. And, this is his reply:
Captain Kalia’s case was raised by India in talks with visiting Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik today. New Delhi demanded action against those responsible for torturing the officer to death. Upon his arrival in Delhi, Mr Malik had said, “I have not examined this case. I will be very happy to see the father of the soldier and listen to what exactly happened. When the war is going on, on the border we don’t exactly know what happened – whether he was killed by a Pakistani bullet or it was the weather.” [Source]
That someone did that crime is bad enough. But what is even more criminal is the chutzpah with which the Pakistani establishment brushes such incidents aside. Weather?? Take a look at the tortures the soldiers were subjected to and look at the claim of “weather”.
Maybe it is time that Rehman Malik himself is given a taste of that same “weather”?
How to handle Pakistani?
In dealing with Pakistan, I maintain that we India needs to have the following parts to the overall strategy:
Keep the facade of talks. Let them come, we go, but let us all have some fun and games. Nothing substantive. Talks are important to maintain a sense of peacemaking in the Sub-continent. It helps the overall investment climate in India.
Dig-in into Afghanistan. Taliban and Pakistani ISI is keenly viewing the US withdrawal so they can go back to pre-2001 stage and use Afghanistan resources and Jihadis to again start the proxy war against India. That has to be pre-empted. While there, there is every likelihood that Indian forces can inspire Balochs and Pashtuns to strengthen their demands for their homelands. Keeping Pakistan busy with these two populations is important to keep it out of trouble in India.
Push US to bind Pakistan more. US does an incredible job of handling Pakistanis. There needs to be greater push for them to neutralize any threat from Pakistani jehadi establishment (ISI and Army).
Keep Pakistan at bay long enough. There is a story in Hinduism, where Shiva in his magnanimity gives a boon to Bhasmasur, the demon after he has performed tough penances that anyone on whose head Bhasmasur keeps his hand will be burned to death. Bhasmasur, intoxicated by this new found power, runs after Shiva himself to kill him. Shiva summons Vishnu who comes as an Apsara and tricks Bhasmasur to put his hand on his own head and burn himself. Pakistan’s Jihadi establishment is the Bhasmasur. All one has to do is lead it to put their hand on their own head, which it is doing appreciably anyway. The pan-Islamic, anti-Pakistani establishment of Pakistan just needs more time. Let us give it to them.
This is not an aggressive policy to destroy Pakistan or wage a war against it. But a defensive one. To ward off the Bhasmasur of that land. One doesn’t need to fight Bhasmasur, just lead it to its own destruction!
Unless the Rehman Maliks of Pakistan are put in the hands of the same Jihadis who tortured Captain Saurabh Kalia, which they very well could do to him as well at some point in future, the pain of Capt Kalia’s Father will not get through to Malik and other thick-skinned Pakistanis.
For the sake of those 6 soldiers, I wish the curse of Talibanization and Jihadism that was unleashed by its establishment – the very folks whose hands violated Captain Kalia and his men – fully fructifies and destroys the homes, families and lives of every common Pakistani in a way that they wail in the pain that quiet, yet stony eyes of Capt Kalia’s parents has been trying to speak out about.