A day after a BJP MP from Ladakh said Chinese troops had destroyed tents put up by local Changpa tribesmen in Demchok along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), security agencies denied the involvement of Chinese troops.
Sources said there was no evidence to prove that People Liberation Army (PLA) personnel came to the Indian side of the LAC but said instead that the tents could have been blown away by strong wind. The incident took place on July 25 and has also been discussed in a border personnel meeting between the two countries last week.
On Sunday, Ladakh MP T Chhewang had alleged that the tents, erected by tribesmen 5 km from Demchok, in Gongir, were destroyed by Chinese troops. The area where the tents were erected is used as a grazing ground by shepherds of both countries. At least 312 Indian families live there.
“The party of tribesmen erected tents in the area. The next day the tents were destroyed by Chinese troops. When they tried to set up the tents again, the Chinese troops did not allow them,” Chhawang told The Indian Express.
“Incursions from PLA have destroyed the livelihood of tribals in the area who have no pastures to graze cattle,” he said, adding that the tribesmen will re-erect the tents irrespective of support from the Army or administration.
There have reportedly been four Chinese intrusions along the LAC over the past 15 days, but the Army has underplayed all incidents.
On the July 25 incursion, an official said, “There has been no such intrusion by the Chinese Army. No discussions pertaining to the incident came up in the recent flag meeting between the officials of the two armies.”
“There is no proof that the Chinese did it. We have not found any evidence of the tents being burned. And it is not the Chinese Army that has put up the tents, it is shepherds belonging to the other side and that too they have done well within their territory,” another official said.
Chhewang said he had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi who “listened carefully” when he raised the issue four or five days ago. “I had also asked a question in Parliament and received an answer, but it (Chinese incursions) is not a once-in-a-while phenomenon.”
The assailants then got into the car in which they came and drove off.