Indian traders released,China vows action against offenders

2 businessmen allege being kidnapped by Chinese traders as their firm failed to clear local dues.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published:January 4, 2012 4:22 pm

Two Indian nationals,who were being held hostage for about 20 days in the Chinese trade hub of Yiwu,were today shifted out of the town for safety by a team of Indian officials after intense negotiations.

Shyamsunder Agrawal and Deek Raheja are out of Yiwu and on the way to Shanghai,a top official the Indian Embassy here told PTI.

The embassy official thanked the Chinese Foreign Ministry officials for prevailing on the local Yiwu administration to let the two go out of the town for their safety even though they may have to face the court case regarding the payments due to the Chinese merchants from their company.

It is not clear yet whether the two from Mumbai will stay put in Shanghai but,for the time being,they were released from the hotel in Yiwu which was surrounded by groups of angry Chinese traders who abducted them.

However,the duo cannot leave China as their travel documents have been impounded by the court in Yiwu in connection with the case.

Chinese traders were unwilling to let them go asserting that their company owed millions of Yuan for products bought from them and they would be permitted to leave only after payments were made.

Their case has become a diplomatic row of sorts between India and China after an Indian diplomat,S Balachandran fainted in Yiwu court while trying to secure their release on December 31. He is recovering in a hospital in Shanghai.

The Chinese government,however,denied any ill-treatment of the diplomat.

“Relevant reports saying that the Indian consular officer was forbidden to take food and medicine and was besieged during his stay in Yiwu were not true,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here today.

“I want to stress that China is a country under the rule of law and China attaches great importance to China India relations. “Relevant departments always maintain lawful rights and interests of Indians in China in accordance with law,” he said.

Meanwhile,China today promised adequate safety to Indian nationals there as it initiated criminal proceedings against five locals suspected of being involved in the act.

The assurance was given by Chinese ambassador to India Zhang Yan during his separate meeting with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and a senior official of the ministry,after which the Indian side expressed satisfaction at the steps taken.

“I had a detailed discussion with your Foreign Minister. The Chinese government attaches great importance to this matter. We are working very hard to find a solution to this issue and to resolve it as early as possible,” Zhang told reporters in New Delhi after his meeting with Krishna.

The two Indians were put up in a hotel during the past two days under police security and Raheja told PTI earlier that the hotel was surrounded by a group of Chinese traders who abducted them.

Though the court ordered their release on December 31,the traders refused to let them go. They literally lunged at the two as they clung to the diplomat to leave with him.

In the process,Balachandran fainted and was rushed to a hospital with injuries.

The two were kidnapped by Chinese merchants on December 15 after the owner of the company in which they work reportedly fled without clearing large sums of money owed to local suppliers.

The two alleged torture and brutal treatment during the custody and pleaded with the Indian Consulate in Shanghai to get them released from illegal custody.

Raheja had even threatened to commit suicide if Indian officials did not take them out of the trading city.

The breakthrough came after prolonged negotiations as Indian Ambassador to China,S Jaishankar,who was away in India on leave,returned today.

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