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Army in touch with PLA over missing Arunachal youth; Rahul calls PM’s silence cowardly

Sources in the defence establishment said the Army is in touch with the PLA through hotlines regarding the issue. However, sources said a response from the PLA is still awaited.

Written by Debraj Deb , Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: January 21, 2022 3:30:30 am
India boy missing, China PLA, Arunachal boy missing, abducted arunachal youth, india news, indian expressMiram Taron, 17. (Twitter/@TapirGao)

On the day authorities said the Indian Army was in touch with the People’s Liberation Army regarding an Arunachal Pradesh boy last seen on January 18, his father alleged he had been abducted by the Chinese and urged the government to “bring my son back safely”.

Opang Taron, father of 17-year-old Miram Taron, told The Indian Express that the family was very worried. The 49-year-old lives with his wife, five sons and brothers at Zido, a village in Upper Siang, near the boundary with China.

The village is next to a forest where Miram, his third son, had gone to hunt and collect herbs on Tuesday, but never returned. Miram’s friend Johny Yaiying, who had accompanied him, said Chinese troops had surprised them.

Opang said: “I am a simple farmer. We live in a village by the Lungta Jor forest. One of my sons was abducted by the Chinese when he went to the jungle. I don’t know what to say. I appeal to the government to bring my son back safely.”

Miram’s friend Johny Yaiying said: “It was night when it happened… all of a sudden, these Chinese turned up, extremely close to us. I ran from there.”

Opang’s family has filed an FIR at the Tuting police station. Authorities have assured the family that Miram will return since the government has taken up the matter with the Chinese through diplomatic channels.

Upper Siang Deputy Commissioner Shashvat Saurabh told reporters: “He (Miram) was among a group of local hunters. Others in the group, who succeeded in escaping, informed that Miram Taron had been abducted by the PLA from the Indian side.” He said efforts are being made to rescue Miram.

Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu said he was “very optimistic” that Miram would be released within a few days.

“This news came last night and the Ministry of Defence started talks this morning via the diplomatic channel through the Ministry of External Affairs,” he said.

(According to a PTI report from Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of the incident but the PLA controls the borders and cracks down on “illegal entry and exit activities”.)

It was BJP’s Tapir Gao, Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal East, who in a Twitter post said: “Chinese PLA has abducted Sh Miram Taron, 17 years of Zido vill. Yesterday 18th Jan 2022 from inside Indian territory, Lungta Jor area (China built 3-4 Km road inside India in 2018) under Siyungla area (Bishing village) of Upper Siang dist., Arunachal Pradesh.”

Tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and the Indian Army, Tapir Gao wrote that Miram Taron’s friend had escaped from the PLA and had reported the matter to the authorities. He urged government agencies to “step up” efforts for Miram’s early release.

Sources in the defence establishment said the Army is in touch with the PLA through the hotline, and a response is awaited.

Sources said the Army “immediately contacted the PLA through the established mechanism of hotline”, informing the Chinese that an individual “who was collecting herbs and hunting, has lost his way and cannot be found”.

The Army has sought assistance from the PLA to locate Miram and return him.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in a Twitter post, said “we are with the family of Miram Taron and will not lose hope, will not give up”. He targeted the Prime Minister over his “silence” and said “he doesn’t care”.

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