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As Shashi Tharoor continues to defend his ‘man of peace’ remark for Musharraf, here is how Indian soldiers were mutilated under Musharraf’s command

For an Indian lawmaker to sing paeans about the orchestrator of the Kargil war which resulted in the death of hundreds of Indian soldiers, is quite unpalatable to most Indians.

On Sunday (February 5) night, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter to defend his ‘eulogising’ remarks, which he made following the death of former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

Tharoor shrewdly compared his previous comments about the mastermind of the 1999 Kargil war to Indian culture and its ethos. “I was raised in an India where you are expected to speak kindly of people when they die,” he emphasised.

While conceding the role of Pervez Musharraf in Kargil, the Congress MP lauded the ex-military dictator for being a beacon of peace. “Musharraf was an implacable enemy & was responsible for Kargil but he did work for peace w/India, in his own interest, 2002-7,” he added.

“He was no friend but he saw strategic benefit in peace, as did we,” Tharoor continued to justify his actions. In this process, the Congress MP glossed over the barbaric treatment of Indian soldiers who were killed in action during the 1999 Kargil War.

The Aftermath of the Kargil War

The Kargil war between India and Pakistan, which lasted from May 1999 to July 1999, resulted in the death of thousands.

While the numbers remain disputed, as per the figures given by the Nawaz Sharif government, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis died in the conflict while over 500 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty.

Captain Saurabh Kalia was one of the first casualties of the 1999 Kargil conflict in India. On May 15th, 1999, Captain Kalia and five soldiers went on a routine patrol of the Bajrang Post but were captured by Pakistani infiltrators who had infiltrated Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir.

Captain Kalia and his men were subjected to brutal torture for days before their mutilated bodies were returned to the Indian Army. The torture was so horrific that Captain Kalia’s body was returned with his eyes and eardrums pierced, genitals cut, chest burned, and other atrocities inflicted upon him.

The government presented his case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), labelling it as an exceptional circumstance.

The Pakistani Army, under General Pervez Musharraf, even refused to accept the bodies of their fallen soldiers during the Kargil war, who, unlike Captain Saurabh Kalia, were not tortured during the war and fell on the battlefield. In fact, the Indian Army performed their last rites and gave them a deserving burial.

In archival footage of Associated Press, an Indian Army officer was heard saying, “Today (July 15, 1999) we are carrying out the burial of 7 Pakistani soldiers, who have laid down their lives in combat here, as a mark of respect to the soldiers who have died.”

Two days later on July 17, 1999, the Indian Army buried 5 more bodies of Pakistani soldiers on Gun Hill, which is located at 16,500 feet above sea level. Thus for anyone to eulogise or remotely downplay the sins of Pervez Musharraf is a mockery of those killed in action during the 1999 Kargil War.

The Background of the Controversy around Musharraf

On Sunday (February 5), Indian liberals started praising Musharraf after the news of his death came to light.

Leading the pack of liberals was none other than Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who said that he found Musharraf smart and clear in his strategic thinking.

He tweeted, “…Once an implacable foe of India, he became a real force for peace 2002-2007. I met him annually in those days at the @un & found him smart, engaging & clear in his strategic thinking. RIP”

It must be mentioned that Pervez Musharraf was the leading strategist behind the Kargil war, as he ordered the infiltration of Indian territory as the Pakistani Army’s General. For an Indian lawmaker to sing paeans about the orchestrator of the Kargil war which resulted in the death of hundreds of Indian soldiers, is quite unpalatable to most Indians.

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