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Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Half-baked journalist, myopic observer, pseudo rebel, phony philosopher, wanna-be: adventurer, writer, singer, movie-star.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A soldier betrayed.

They sent him back with his eardrums pierced, eyes punctured and removed, most of his teeth, bones broken, and limbs and genitals cut or chopped off.

Capt. Saurabh Kalia, of the 4th Jat Regiment, was captured by enemy troops along with five other Indian soldiers on May 15, 1999. He was held in captivity and tortured gruesomely, but the brave soldier did not betray a nation that would soon betray him and the memory of his valiant deeds.

Saurabh's father has ploughed a lonely furrow for the last 16 years in the hope of getting justice for his martyred son. The NDA government now says that they will not take Saurabh Kalia's case to the International Court of Justice.

The Indian news channels have gone ballistic on this. One news channel, in particular, wants the nation to know the reasons the government purportedly has for not taking up the case of a soldier - dead and gone - who was tortured in gross violation of the Geneva convention. They may have their faults but shouldn't we thank the news channels for having picked up this story and running it even though it eats into the time available for hagiographies .

Did we really expect better?

After all, this very same coalition of wise men literally gifted us the Kargil war and the resultant humiliation - it has been well documented that we were not able to take back all the positions and that some are occupied till date by the enemy. And who can forget the coffingate? Party of the moneybags, eh? Couldn't resist making some easy money, right? Another matter that these very same giants promised us an 'Aar-Paar ki ladai' when they themselves came under attack. They beat a retreat after having mobilised the armed forces at great expense to the nation and losing soldiers to the process. Oh, and then there was the Kandahar humiliation - a Union Minister escorted hardened terrorists to Kandahar and then set them free. Now, this very same coalition of giants props up a decidedly separatist government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. By some accounts, the present chief minister orchestrated the kidnapping of his own daughter in 1989, and set free terrorists to bring her home safe. The terrorists triumphed over the government of India, and Kashmir was never to be the same again. So much for all the potent, verbose ironmen of this great, ancient nation.

The less said about the UPA the better. The economist prime minister always seemed extraordinarily keen to cut a deal with the enemy. Some say he wanted to leave a mark of his own on history. How? By bartering away the country's interests at Sharm-el-Sheik? By turning the other cheek after the horrific terror attacks in Mumbai? By being gullible enough to swallow the enemy's 'non-state actors' argument hook, line and sinker? Oh, how the enemy must have laughed at us poor, credulous souls. One wishes the scion of the UPA's first family had half as many words to spare for our soldiers as he does for the farmers and the middle-class.

As an aside, one wonders what truth there is to something one read a long time ago that alleged Dawood Ibrahim having links with politicians cutting across all party lines, and this being the reason for him having eluded capture then and since.

Meanwhile, the gallant and the macho defense minister has just promised to take the fight to the enemy ONCE AGAIN - all the while managing to display symptoms of being afflicted by the very same foot-in-the-mouth disease that seems to have afflicted so many of his predecessors. Terror-for-terror? Really? This is how we aim to buttress our claims to a permanent seat at the high table at the United Nations? Am all for paying the enemy back in the same coin but one expects the defense minister to be acquainted with what the American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, advised about speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Oh, and by the way, the defense minister has just torpedoed the deal with France to buy the much needed fighter aircrafts to bring India's fighter squadron strength up to notch.


Saurabh Kalia shall live in our memories, even as these politicians fade into oblivion.

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