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SC notice to centre on plea over soldiers' beheading

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SC notice to centre on plea over soldiers beheading
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the central government on a plea saying that the issue of the beheading of two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control by the Pakistani army be raised in the International Criminal Court.

The apex court bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J.S. Khehar issued notice as a public interest litigation by lawyer Sarwa Mitter contended that the brutal and inhuman beheading of Indian soldiers by the Pakistani army was contrary to the Geneva Convention.

The petition sought direction to the government to ask Pakistan to return the head of soldier Hemraj.

Mitter also sought the termination of trade and cultural relations with Pakistan if the latter failed to return Hemraj's head.

Seeking direction to the government to take the matter to International Criminal Court (ICC), the court was told that the "ghastly killing of two jawans of Indian army including beheading of one of them is highly heinous and inhuman".

The petition said that "non-action on the part of the government of India is against the human dignity resulting into the violation of fundamental rights of Indian citizens".

"The government is bound to protect the rights of every citizens including military personnel," it said.

Pakistani soldiers Jan 8 intruded into the Indian side in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, killed two Indian soldiers and beheaded one of them and took away the head. This led to escalation of tension between the two countries but the situation eased after a flag meeting between the two sides Jan 14.

The court, while issuing the notice to the central government, tagged the plea with another petition relating to the Pakistani army returning the mutilated body of Captain Saurabh Kalia, killed during the Kargil conflict, that is pending for hearing before the court.

The apex court Dec 14, 2012, had issued notice to the central government on a plea by Captain Saurabh Kalia's father N.K. Kalia seeking direction to the government to refer to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the torture of his son by the Pakistani army after he was captured during the 1999 Kargil conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.

Captain Kalia of the 4 Jat Regiment was the first Indian Army officer to observe and report large-scale intrusion by the Pakistani army into the Indian side of the Line of Control in the Kargil sector.

Kalia and five soldiers were captured May 15, 1999 and were in captivity for over 22 days. The bodies were handed over to the Indian authorities June 9, 1999.

IANS

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