Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Sep 8, 2020-
Five persons from Arunachal Pradesh, who went missing on September 2, have been found in Chinese territory, and steps are being taken to ensure their early return, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday.
Rijiju, the Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister and an MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said in a tweet: “China’s PLA has responded to the hotline message sent by Indian Army. They have confirmed that the missing youths from Arunachal Pradesh have been found on their side. Further modalities to handover the persons to our authority are being worked out.”
Defence Spokesman Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande said that as a result of persistent efforts of Indian Army, the five missing hunters from Upper Subansiri district, who had inadvertently crossed over the Line of Actual Contril (LAC) on September 2, were traced.
“Chinese Army on Tuesday responded on the hotline and confirmed that the missing Indians have been found on their side. Formalities for their early transfer is being coordinated with the Chinese Army,” he said in a brief statement.
Contacted by IANS, Upper Subansiri’s Superintendent of Police Taru Gussar said that the police do not have any additional information.
“Except Union Minister Kiren Rijiju’s tweet, we have not any other additional information yet,” he said. Earlier on Tuesday morning, Gussar had said that the family members of the five missing persons, who many suspected were kidnapped by the Chinese PLA soldiers, didn’t inform the police.
“People from this area go to the forest for hunting, which is a traditional practice among the tribals of this region. I cannot say anything till I get any confirmation about what exactly happened,” Gussar had told IANS over phone.
Earlier in the day, Congress’ deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi, had urged Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to ensure the safe return of the five youth.
“I am writing to you to register my grave concern regarding the condition of the five young men from Arunachal Pradesh who have gone missing from the Upper Subansiri district during a hunting exercise. Their family members have made statements alleging that they have been abducted, holding the Chinese People’s Liberation Army responsible for the incident,” Gogoi wrote.
Rijiju had earlier said that the Indian Army has sent a hotline message to the PLA about the reported abduction of five persons from Arunachal Pradesh.
The state’s Directorate of Information and Public Relations had earlier tweeted: “Arunachal Govt is closely monitoring the case of 5 missing boys in Nacho village, Upper Subansiri District. District Administration has been directed to assist all concerned agencies to trace the missing boys.”
Local media had reported that the reported kidnappings occurred in a forest area near Nacho in Upper Subansiri. According to media reports, Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker and Ngaru Diri, all from the Tagin community, had gone to the forest for hunting. Two other villagers, who had managed to flee the spot, had informed the other villagers.
The India-China border is about 170 km from Daporijo, the headquarters of Upper Subansiri, which is itself 280 km from Itanagar. A team from the police station at Nacho – the last administrative circle along the McMahon Line and around 120 km from Daporijo – had been sent to the forward area village.
On September 3, the Indian Army had provided food, warm clothes and medical assistance, including oxygen, to three Chinese citizens who had lost their way in sub-zero temperatures in a border area in north Sikkim, at an altitude of 17,500 feet.
The Indian troops deployed in the area also guided the Chinese citizens, including a woman, to return home. The Chinese citizens expressed their gratitude to India and the Indian Army for their prompt assistance.
Arunachal Pradesh’s northeast section shares a 1,080 km-long border with China. (Agency)