This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This Is What Our Answer Should Be To Shame And Blame The Pakistani State

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Karmanye Thadani:

Capt. Saurabh Kalia was brutally tortured in the Kargil war. Thankfully, his father has not allowed the nation to forget, and Kalia’s torture has even been condemned by Pakistani human rights activists. More recently, two of our soldiers patrolling the LoC were killed. Firing across the LoC is unfortunately quite common, but what happened recently was the beheading of one soldier and possible mutilation of another. What should be our response?


Minister of External Affairs, Salman Khurshid only condemns the incident but refuses to discuss the strategy the UPA will adopt to react to this issue. I know some ultra-passionate Indians would advocate waging a war. But fighting a nuclear-armed country over an ambush at a time when our economic growth has slowed down will lead us nowhere. Even if we capture POK, the pro-Pakistan elements among them would create a huge menace and the anger in Pakistan would manifest itself in more terrorism. I am writing another series of articles on how to fairly and practically resolve the Kashmir issue, but let’s leave that for now.

But, does that mean we do nothing about these heinous crimes? Surely not. The Pakistani state had the audacity to take the Indian state to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for shooting down a plane of theirs in our territory, and they evidently lost the case. Now, it is our turn to knock the doors of the ICJ to shame and blame Pakistan. We should make a ruckus about this in the United Nations Human Rights Council, just as Pakistan has repeatedly done over human rights violations by Indian soldiers in Kashmir. We should also approach the United Nations Committee against torture to pressurize the Pakistani state into punishing those guilty of these heinous crimes. Build international public opinion, which is already quite anti-Pakistan after Osama being found and killed there, and if not punishment for soldiers identified for these crimes (though that’s also not impossible), at least a proper reparation in monetary terms is due from the Pakistani state as well as a clear official apology. But no, going to the International criminal court (ICC) is not an option, as Times Now flashed on the bottom of the TV screen while discussing the issue of Capt. Kalia’s torturer, for we ourselves don’t accept its jurisdiction, nor does Pakistan (unfortunately, in my opinion, and I had written this piece on this issue).

Khurshid is a lawyer but he only spoke in terms of military action or dialogue, but whatever happened to international law? Isn’t it strange that India wanted to take up the Sino-Indian border dispute in the ICJ when our case legally was (and is) weak on that front, but is not doing so when we have a strong legal case here, for these two soldiers and Capt. Kalia?

Whenever I have brought up this point in Capt. Kalia’s context, people (lawyers included) told me that accepting the jurisdiction of the ICJ for any dispute requires consent of both parties. This needs some more clarity of the basics of international law. To quote Article 36 of the ICJ Statute that deals with the jurisdiction —

“1. The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force.

2. The states parties to the present Statute may at any time declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other state accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes concerning:

a. the interpretation of a treaty;

b. any question of international law;

c. the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation;

d. the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation.

3. The declarations referred to above may be made unconditionally or on condition of reciprocity on the part of several or certain states, or for a certain time.

4. Such declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the parties to the Statute and to the Registrar of the Court.

5. Declarations made under Article 36 of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and which are still in force shall be deemed, as between the parties to the present Statute, to be acceptances of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice for the period which they still have to run and in accordance with their terms.

6. In the event of a dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the Court.”

Now, while Article 36(1) involves both countries wanting to resolve the dispute, Article 36(2) doesn’t, if the country concerned recognizes the “compulsory” jurisdiction of the court “without any special agreement” with the other party to the dispute. Has Pakistan taken such a position? Yes, it has (for reference, please see this ). Which clause of Article 36(2) would this dispute fall under? It would certainly be clause (c), for it would be required for us to prove that our men have been tortured and this is a breach of international law.

Some may point out that countries often disregard ICJ judgments. True, but I doubt if Pakistan would dare to do so. If it does, try to have sanctions slammed. Or at least stop all trade with them, which benefits their economy much more than ours.

My question is — why are we not even so much as considering employing international law to redress these particular grievances?

Equally, I would like to point out, as much as many may hate me for saying this — while our blood boils for human rights violations committed against some of our men in uniform, it’s time for us to think whether it isn’t only natural for there to be outrage in Kashmir and the northeast when our men in uniform have committed human rights violations even against their own innocent civilians, who we claim to consider our own citizens.

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: The author is a freelance writer based in New Delhi. He has co-authored two short books, namely “Onslaughts on Free Speech in India by Means of Unwarranted Film Bans: An Issue Revisited in the Light of the ‘Aarakshan’ Controversy” and ‘Women and Sport in India and the World: A Socio-Legal Perspective’. A lawyer by qualification, he, till recently, worked in the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), a leading Delhi-based public policy think-tank, and is currently writing a book on Sino-Indian relations.To read his other posts, click here.[/box]

You must be to comment.
  1. Charumati Haran

    A very apt suggestion. Though this is not a matter to joke about, but I’m reminded of a joke I saw on facebook, which suggested that we punish Pakistan by not playing cricket with them. India ought to take the help of the international community in general in ensuring that its neighbour stays in line. However, India itself has a bad reputation now – corruption in politics, restrictive bureaucracy, women’s issue and as you correctly pointed out, the human rights violations. One of the reasons that the government is avoiding this might be because they don’t want to open themselves up to further scrutiny.

    1. Karmanye Thadani

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment.

  2. Aditi Thakker

    Keeping in mind the recent ceasefire violations that the Pakistani army has been up to, you article is more relevant than ever. However with India’s policy to never attack first in the situation of a possibility of war, any violent mean is out of the question. As for International Law, It is possible to invoke provisions in the Geneva Convention, but our government doesn’t seem bothered enough.

    It is almost like India and Pakistan do not wish to resolve their differences. The economy of war is too important, to lose to peace.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

By Vaishnavi Gond

By Satyam Giri

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below