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A martyr awaits justice even after a decade of the Kargil war

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Saurabh-Kalia
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Captain Kalia along with five other soldiers, were allegedly tortured to death in the captivity of Pakistani troops and their bodies were returned in such mutilated condition that even the families were not able to identify them.

A hero, a martyr and a prisoner of war, Captain Saurabh Kalia, son of India is awaiting an apology from Pakistan. Born on 30 June, 1976, to Dr. N.K. Kalia and Mrs. Vijay he was selected in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun in August 1997.

During the 1999 Kargil war against archrival Pakistan, Saurabh along with five other soldiers of the Jat regiment namely, Sepoy Arjun Ram, Sepoy Bhawar Lal Bagaria, Sepoy Bhika Ram, Sepoy Moola Ram and Sepoy Naresh Singh were captured alive by the Pakistani rangers near the Kaksar sector. All this happened while Saurabh along with five Indian soldiers had long and continuous battle with the Pakistani rangers. When the Indian counterpart ran out of ammunition, they were encircled and captured. Captaint Saurabh Kalia along with those five soldiers were in captivity for over twenty one days where they were humiliated, tortured and finally killed. The Pakistani army handed over their bodies on June 9, 1999 and it was revealed that the Pakistani army had tortured the Indian soldiers by burning their bodies with cigarettes, their ear drums were punctured with hot rods. Their eyes were also punctured and were removed. The teeth were broken along with bones, skull was fractured, lips were cut, limbs, nose including their private organs were chopped.

Beside this horrific act, the Indian soldiers also faced mental torture and finally they were killed, as it was clear by the postmortem report. Although the Kalia family had been granted all sorts of monetary benefits, the pain is excruciating and the wound open. Pakistan has been constantly denying the fact that Captain Saurabh Kalia, along with others were indeed captured, mutilated, and murdered by the Pakistani troops. Pakistan has also been denying that the act was a war crime. Dr. N.K. Kalia and his family have been fighting a battle ever since they received the body of their son. “All that we want is an apology”, Dr. Kalia says. The media have raised the issue again and Army Cheif General Bikram Singh has assured that Indian army will support this battle. India demands justice for the heroes long forgotten. It’s the time we show our support for the martyr, who died so that we could live in safety. Indian government has been avoiding any initiative to raise the issue as a war crime, hence insulting the memory of the soldier, who died fighting for the nation.

Presently, Dr. N.K. Kalia, father of Capt. Kalia, moved the Supreme Court with a belief that the nation and its citizens would support him in the quest. HW requests the readers to support our hero with their comments and shares. It’s not about a few soldiers, but the dignity of Indian armed forces. No soldier of ours or any nations should ever be made to face the ‘War Crimes’.

By Vayu Mankotia , Shimla, Member HW Community

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Shimla: Charitable Trust Providing Free Meals to Home Isolated Covid-19 Patients

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Upadhayaya Educational Trust

Shimla-Coronavirus pandemic has proved to be a major blow to the state’s governance. At a time when almost all three tiers of government failed to assess and prepare for the second wave in the country, many organisations have come forward to help the ordinary citizens in need. The Sunil Upadhayaya Educational Trust has been running an initiative to provide free food for those in home isolation in the state’s capital city.

The trust started the initiative from 28th April 2021, and is currently providing free meals to at least 83 Covid-19 positive families in Shimla, Trust Secretary Dr Surendra Sharma said.

Joint Secretary informed that the meal plan for Covid-19 patients have been prepared after taking into consideration all the dietary requirements of such patients . Suggestions for this diet plan were taken from doctors.

A well-planned protein diet consisting of fruits, salads, sprouts, vegetable, pulses, rice, Indian flatbread (roti), and a sweet dish is being provided to the home isolated patients, the trust added.
Social Service by The Sunil Upadhayaya Educational Trust

The trust informed that all the people involved in the initiative, including the cooks, have undergone the RT-PCR test.

Trust secretary, Dr. Sharma, claimed that the trust has managed to deliver 676 food packages till now. He also informed that the trust is running two helpline numbers for those in need of the food service. Needy people can reach the trust at the given numbers: 9418006194, 9805349124

The trust is also organising free online coaching classes for the students of class 10th and 12th for 35 days.

“All those students who are facing problems to manage their studies in the pandemic due to unavailability of required resources can contact the trust members and get themselves registered for the free classes,” Joint Secretary said.

In the past, Sunil Upadhayaya Educational Trust have organized various initiatives like cloth banks, and clothes distribution drives too, Dr Joint Secretary.

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Despite Inauguration of Oxygen Plant in Hamirpur, No Ventilator Support for Patients

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Shimla-Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had inaugurated two Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) Oxygen Plant at Dr. Radhakrishnan Government Medical College, Hamirpur, and Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, Chamba on Sunday. The government had ensured to provide uninterrupted oxygen supply to the patients admitted in both these medical colleges.

But now allegations are being labelled that he inaugurated the plant in Hamirpur in haste while the patients are still not receiving ventilator support.

According to a report published in a daily, the PSA plant in Dr. RKGMC established at the cost of Rs 1 crore couldn’t provide any relief to the patients. Despite the inauguration, the patients are being referred to Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda and Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Hospital, Ner Chowk

The report said that critically ill covid patients are being referred to nearby hospitals even after the inauguration of the plant and the timely availability of ambulances is also another inconvenience that the patients are facing. A covid positive police officer in critical condition was shifted to Ner Chowk on Tuesday. Last week a  BJP member in Hamirpur succumbed to corona due to the unavailability of a ventilator in the hospital, the report said.  

The PSA Oxygen plant at Hamirpur has a capacity of 300PLM. The plant was supposed to supply oxygen to a 30-bedded fully dedicated covid ward.

Senior officials from Dr. RKGMC, responding to the query, said that the oxygen plant is running, but the ward with ventilator facility is not ready yet. They said that covid patients can’t be shifted to the ward until the work concludes. The officials assured that the ward will be made functional soon.

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Govt and People Flaunting Interstate Travel SOPs Costing Himachal

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Shimla– Though the Himachal Pradesh Government has now announced imposition of strict curfew, similar to a lockdown, there is no doubt about it that both the government and the public underestimated the second wave of the pandemic armed with double mutant- more deadly than the first one. The government in the state was hardly able to take timely decisions at its own and those taken appeared to be ineffective and half-hearted. My own experience is a testimony to the carelessness shown by the government, as well as, the people during inter-state travel. 

HP Govt was one among the many states that made it mandatory for people entering the state to register with COVID e-pass and to carry a negative RT-PCR report. The measures taken by the government seemed commendable to me until I faced the ground reality.

A week after the official notification was issued, I travelled to the state capital city from New Delhi – one of the major hotspots. Rigorous checking and contact tracing is the need of the hour, but what’s happening at the border is far more different than what is expected of the officials.

It shouldn’t come to us as a surprise if fake e-passes in the names of Donald Trump and Amitabh Bachhan are being produced. This matter should put light on the negligent approach of state authorities. As much as we trust the government bodies to contain the virus, they are dangerously failing. In my own experience, I wasn’t asked to produce a negative RT-PCR report upon entering the state, nobody in the last 72hrs tried to contact trace me. I travelled to Shimla in a public transportation bus, on the eve of 4th May 2021. On entering the state border, the assigned official made no extraordinary attempt to check the passengers. Many were travelling without e-pass and RT-PCR test reports. I even asked the official to check my RT-PCR report, to which he showed no concern. It is due to careless mistakes like these that made India one of the most affected countries in the world.

I also noticed that many passengers were not carrying e-passes, either because they were not aware of the need to carry them, or because they didn’t take this mandatory condition seriously. The sheer ignorance of common people and those who are appointed to keep check of the situation is the reason why we are heading towards a catastrophe. The onus is on us, too. I made sure that I travelled with e-pass, so that the state government stays aware of my movement. I got my test done so that I don’t infect the virus to others unknowingly. I am also observing home isolation for a period of 14 days because there’s no harm in following the precautionary measures.

India is in the second wave of this deadly pandemic, and it is time we take responsibility for our actions. The primary reason for the rise of the second wave in India is the rampant violation of COVID protocols.

Now that the state government has decided to implement a curfew similar to a lockdown, I expect that the new Covid protocols will not have any loophole. This time people along with the administration will have to stay prepared to face the reality. The virus can be stopped, but only with our combined efforts.

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