Five men from Arunachal Pradesh, who “inadvertently strayed” into Chinese territory across the Line of Actual Control, were handed over by China’s People’s Liberation Army to the Indian Army on Saturday, an official statement said.
Tezpur-based Defence PRO Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande in an official statement said, “Indian Army approached PLA on hotline to trace and return them. On 8 Sept, response on the hotline confirmed that the missing individuals had been traced. Indian Army took over all five individuals at Kibitu on 12 Sept after completing all the formalities. Individuals will now be quarantined for 14 days as per Covid-19 protocol and will thereafter be handed over to their family members.”
In his statement, Pande said that Arunachal Pradesh is known for its “rich natural heritage and adventurous people” who are “fond of exploring nature for medicinal herbs” and “possessing traditional flair for hunting which involves surviving off the land for weeks in jungles and far flung remote areas.
“During such adventurous forays, at times youth have inadvertently strayed to the other side of LAC. Indian Army has always been proactive in tracing the lost locals and helping them return home,” he said. Last week, BJP leader and East Arunachal MP Tapir Gao had tweeted that five youths had been allegedly abducted by the PLA from Sera7 area below the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district.