Saurabh Kalia was born on 29 June 1976 in Amritsar, Punjab. Captain Saurabh Kalia was the first hero of the Kargil war. Captain Saurabh Kalia joined the Indian Military Academy in August 1997 through the Combined Defense Services Examination. He was posted in the 4th Battalion Jat Regiment in the Kargil sector. Saurabh Kalia was killed as a prisoner of war by the Pakistan Army on 9 June 1999 during the Kargil War.
Captain Saurabh Kalia Military Career
Saurabh’s father N.K. Kalia was a doctor. NK Kalia was a resident of Palampur Himachal. Saurabh Kalia studied at DAV Public School in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. And graduated from Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University in 1997 with a BSc-Med degree in the first division. Kalia joined the Indian Army after graduation. And he was commissioned on 12 December 1998. He had reported in the middle of January 1999.
In May 1999, news came that Pakistan had captured some sectors of India. It was a piece of intelligent information. And to confirm this, a team of Captain Saurabh Kalia and five soldiers of his patrol team was prepared. Kalia and five other soldiers – Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Mula Ram, and Naresh Singh – soldiers of the 4th Jat Regiment. Kalia was then in the rank of lieutenant. Proceeded to Bajrang Post at 13,000–14,000 feet to observe and report the intrusion. The firing was done on them as soon as they were posted at the post. And they retaliated but when their ammunition ran out, they were surrounded by a platoon of Pakistani Rangers.
And after that, he could not be contacted by the Indian Army. Kalia and his 5 companions were taken, prisoner. He was tortured by Pakistani Rangers. Due to this, all the soldiers died. His body was handed over to India by the Pakistan Army on June 9, 1999. Post-mortem examinations conducted by India revealed that he died of severe torture and gunshot wounds. Their bodies were burned with cigarettes, eardrums were pierced with hot rods, eyes gouged out, and nosebleeds removed before being gouged out. And later Kalia and his companions were killed in the firing. The Pakistanis denied all these allegations.
Kalia’s family has campaigned for the alleged acts to be declared war crimes by the United Nations and for those responsible to be punished according to the Geneva Conventions. In Himachal Pradesh, Palampur has a memorial park named “Saurabh Van Vihar”, a road named “Captain Saurabh Kalia Marg” and a locality named “Saurabh Nagar”. A statue has been set up in his memory in Amritsar by the Working Journalists Association. Its parent has been allotted a Liquefied Petroleum Gas agency by the Indian Oil Corporation.