Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Five persons from Arunachal Pradesh, who went missing on Friday, have been found in the Chinese territory, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday.
Rijiju, the Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister and an MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said in a tweet: “China’s PLA has responded to the hotline message sent by Indian Army. They have confirmed that the missing youths from Arunachal Pradesh have been found on their side. Further modalities to handover the persons to our authority are being worked out.”
When contacted, Upper Subansiri district Superintendent of Police Taru Gussar said that he is very busy with the developments and can’t speak to the media at the moment.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, Gussar had said that the family members of the five missing persons, who many suspected were kidnapped by the Chinese PLA soldiers, didn’t inform the police.
“People from this area go to the forest for hunting, which is a traditional practice among the tribals of this region. I cannot say anything till I get any confirmation about what exactly happened,” Gussar had over phone.
Earlier in the day, Congress’ deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi, had urged Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to ensure the safe return of the five youth from Arunachal Pradesh.
“I am writing to you to register my grave concern regarding the condition of the five young men from Arunachal Pradesh who have gone missing from the Upper Subansiri district during a hunting exercise. Their family members have made statements alleging that they have been abducted, holding the Chinese People’s Liberation Army responsible for the incident,” Gogoi wrote to Rajnath Singh.
Rijiju had earlier said that the Indian Army has sent a hotline message to the PLA about the reported abduction of five persons from Arunachal Pradesh.
The state’s Directorate of Information and Public Relations had earlier tweeted: “Arunachal Govt is closely monitoring the case of 5 missing boys in Nacho village, Upper Subansiri District. District Administration has been directed to assist all concerned agencies to trace the missing boys.”
The local media in Arunachal Pradesh had also reported that the reported kidnappings occurred in a forest area near Nacho in Upper Subansiri. According to media reports, the abducted persons — Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker and Ngaru Diri, all from the Tagin community — had gone to the forest for hunting. Two other villagers, who had managed to flee the spot, had informed the other villagers.
The India-China border is about 170 km from Daporijo, the headquarters of Upper Subansiri district, which itself is 280 km from state capital Itanagar. A team from the Nacho police station has been sent to the forward area village.
Arunachal Pradesh’s northeast section shares a 1,080 km-long border with China.