At a time when consensus eludes Congress and ruling BJP on almost every issue, the BJP has toed the line of the previous UPA-led government on the issue of not approaching International Court of Justice (ICJ) for alleged torture and killing of Kargil hero Captain Saurabh Kalia by Pakistani army during 1999 Kargil war.

The BJP government has termed the option of approaching ICJ as “not feasible.”

On May 15, 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia of the 4 Jat Regiment was captured by Pakistani troops along with five other Indian soldiers. After holding the half a dozen men of Indian army in captivity amid allegations of torture, the dead bodies of six soldiers were handed over to Indian authorities on June 9, 1999.

Source: Dailymail

The incident had sparked nation-wide outrage and cry for justice from the Indian public, according to whom, the prisoners of war were treated in violation to the Geneva Convention on treatment of POWs.

Pakistan has consistently denied the allegations of torture, citing soldiers may have died because of poor weather conditions.

Earlier, Congress-led UPA government had also refused to move to the ICJ as no country country can be compelled to and Pakistan might not permit it.

Source: Indian Strategic Studies

The Manmohan Singh government also shockingly went to the extent of saying that the effect on relations with “our neighbour country” has to be kept in mind, and that “moving the ICJ is not a legally enforceable right,” a Dailymail report says.

However, BJP’s recent decision has baffled everyone, as the party had vehemently criticised Congress during its tenure for its reluctance to pursue the case.

In reply to MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar’s question about the Kalia’s killing in Parliament, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs V. K. Singh recently said: “The attention of the international community has already been drawn to these heinous and barbaric acts of Pakistan army including through a statement to the UN general assembly in New York on September 22, 1999, and to the Commission of Human Rights in April 2000. The possibility of seeking legal remedies through the international courts was also thoroughly examined, but not found feasible,” the Dailymail report reads.

Singh’s reply has dealt a heavy blow to the 66-year-old father of Captain Kalia, N.K. Kalia who has been shuttling between different courts for the past 16 years to secure justice for his son.

Source: Dailymail

“I had expected the BJP government to be more patriotic. Sadly, the new government’s stand remains the same despite change of power at the Centre,” N.K. Kalia told Dailymail.

In 2012, Kalia had moved the Supreme Court in 2012 seeking a direction to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to approach the ICJ for action against Pakistani army.

The MEA’s surrender has been consistently criticised by the apex court.

“It would have been more befitting had the government approached the ICJ with all proofs and documentary evidences and might have lost,” said the SC.

For now, the Supreme Court has set the deadline of August 25 for the Modi government to make its stand clear.

Meanwhile, Congress has termed the Modi government’s decision as a ‘disgrace’ to soldiers sacrificing their lives for the nation.

“The Supreme Court had directed the government of India to pursue martyr Saurabh Kalia’s matter in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The BJP government has been in power for more than one year now and they have not done anything. Now there are reports that they have decided to not go to the ICJ. This is a disgrace to martyrs,” Congress leader PL Punia said, Times of India reports.

“They are trying to shield Pakistan. This is condemnable; we demand that the Supreme Court’s order be followed and the matter be raised in the ICJ,” he added.