Updated: January 24, 2022 2:29:57 am
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has confirmed to the Indian Army that they have found a missing person, even as authorities are trying to confirm whether he is the same youth who had recently gone missing from Arunachal Pradesh. BJP MP from the state, Tapir Gao, had alleged that PLA troops had abducted a 17-year-old from Indian territory on January 18.
Sources said the PLA will confirm the youth’s identity using photos and then start the process of sending him back, which could take about a week.
The Indian Army had earlier reached out to the PLA regarding the disappearance of Miram Taron. Defence sources had said that the Army was in touch with the PLA on the matter.
After it received information about the missing person, the Army “immediately contacted the PLA through established mechanism of hotline”, informing them that an individual “who was collecting herbs and hunting, has lost his way and cannot be found”, sources said.
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The Army then sought assistance from the PLA to locate Taron on their side and return him as per protocol. The PLA responded on January 21 saying that they had found a boy.
Gao, who is the MP from Arunachal East, had termed it an instance of abduction from Indian territory. He said two people had been abducted, but one of them managed to escape and report it to the authorities.
The MP had tweeted on January 19 saying, “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 kms road inside India in 2018) under Siyungla area (Bishing village) of Upper Siang dist, Arunachal Pradesh.”
“His friend escaped from PLA and reported to the authorities. All the agencies of Govt of India is requested to step up for his early release,” he added in another tweet, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the Army, among others.
The matter also kicked off a political row with senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacking Modi over his silence on the issue. Gandhi had said, “PM’s cowardly silence is his statement – he doesn’t care!”
The incident comes at a time when the relationship between India and China is at one of the lowest points in history. The two nations are yet to resolve the over 21-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh even after 14 rounds of meetings at the Corps Commander level. In the last week of December, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced that it had standardised in Chinese characters, and the Tibetan and Roman alphabet, the names of 15 places in Zangnan, the Chinese name for Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims as “South Tibet”.
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