GUWAHATI, SEPTEMBER 7: India’s army has contacted its Chinese counterpart over Friday’s alleged abduction of 5 young men from the Arunachal Pradesh district of Upper Subansiri that borders China, Union minister Kiren Rijiju said on Sunday.
“The Indian Army has already sent hotline message to the counterpart PLA establishment at the border point in Arunachal Pradesh. Response is awaited,” the Minister of State for Sports & Youth Affairs tweeted.
Media reports have claimed the Chinese army kidnapped the 5 villagers who may have got close to a disputed border point, Sera 7, on a hunting expedition.
The area where the abduction took place falls within Rijiju’s parliamentary constituency of Arunachal West. His tweet came amid a demand from the influential All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (Aapsu) for the Government to ensure the safe release of the 5.
Aapsu general secretary Tobom Dai told The Telegraph: “The State and Central Governments should ensure safe release of all the civilians who have been taken captive.”
The incident comes amid tensions on the India-China border in eastern Ladakh. Army sources said the “situation was normal” along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal.
Arunachal’s 1,080km border with China is porous and disputed.
China claims the frontier state is part of its territory of South Tibet.
Arunachal Home Minister Bamang Felix told this newspaper that a police team had gone to the spot and that it would take a few days to get a clear picture.
“Five boys have reportedly gone missing and we are concerned about their safety. Our team is looking into it and will return after 2-3 days,” Felix said.
“But wherever they (the youths) are, they should be safe. Nobody has lodged any missing (person) complaint so far.”
Sources said that people from the area in the Nacho (administrative) Circle where the alleged abduction happened often went to the mountainous and forested border to hunt or fish, or to look for medicinal plants.
They said the village where the 5 youths lived was about 3km from the Nacho township and 120km from district headquarters Daparijo.
The Nacho Circle has 20 to 25 villages and a population of around 5,000. From the Nacho township, it takes 2 or 3 days to reach some villages within the Nacho Circle while the trek to the LAC takes 10 to 12 days.
“It (the Nacho Circle) is a very far-flung area; there’s no network connectivity and the roads are in a shambles,” Aapsu leader Dai said.
“Our unit in the district has asked some of its members to go to Nacho and collect exact information, but it will take 2 to 3 days for them to relay back the information.” Dai said the repeated incidents involving the Chinese army and people living near the border were “acts of aggression” that undermined peaceful coexistence. Indian Army sources said the Chinese had captured a 21-year-old man, Togley Singkam, from the Nacho circle on March 19 and released him on April 7 after negotiations. (Courtesy: TT)