5 missing Arunachalees in China; formalities on to bring them back, says army as families appeal for early release

[ Karda Natam ]

DAPORIJO, Sep 8: The Indian Army has said that the five Arunachalee youths who went missing recently are in China according to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“As a result of persistent efforts of Indian Army, five missing hunters from Indian side of LAC in Upper Subansiri, who had inadvertently crossed over to other side on 2 September, 2020, were traced. Chinese Army on 8 September responded on hotline and confirmed that the missing Indians have been found on their side,” said Defence PRO Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande.

“Formalities for their early transfer are being coordinated with the Chinese Army,” he said.

The five civilians, who were on a hunting expedition and out for collecting medicinal herbs with two others had been abducted by the PLA from the Sera-7 area in Upper Subansiri district, near the line of actual control (LAC).

Relatives of the five youths who were reportedly abducted appealed to the government of India to ensure their safe return at the earliest possible.

They have submitted a representation to the Upper Subansiri DC, seeking early rescue of the five.

They said their wards had gone for hunting in the jungle in Nacho area on 19 August along with two other friends, and thereafter had gone missing.

The two friends who returned from the jungle informed the relatives on 4 September about the missing youths. All five were last seen in a mountain locally known as Tungdara Modi on 1 September, which is very close to the LAC.

The families, who have arrived from Nacho to Daporijo, are yet to submit a missing report.

The relatives, while extending their heartfelt gratitude to all for their concern, appealed to the public to refrain from spreading misinformation and hyping up the incident in the media, fearing that such activities may land their wards at risk as the case is very sensitive and may have international ramifications.

They also said that incorrect names of the missing youths are being circulated in most of the media. The correct names of the missing youths are Tajit Singkam, Taru Diri, Tatu Ebiya, Tanu Bakar and Prasat Ringling.

They also informed that the media have wrongly mentioned them as ‘porters’, which is not correct at all. “They are not associated with the Indian Army,” they said.

The relatives further said that the All Upper Subansiri District Students’ Union has been closely working with the relatives from day one. They said no misinformation should be spread about the union, and the union should not be trolled on social media.

AAPSU welcomes development

Meanwhile, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has welcomed the report of confirmation by the PLA in response to the hotline message of the Indian Army regarding the presence of five civilians in their area.

“We have taken cognizance of the developing situation and our federal unit, the All Upper Subansiri Students’ Union, is also coordinating with the officials on ground and is in touch with the family members of the abducted civilians,” the union stated in a release.

It demanded that the Centre ensure safe and early release of the five civilians.

“We also appeal to the Chinese government and the PLA to immediately release the abducted civilians without any physical or mental harm, as these civilians were only there for hunting expedition,” it said. (with inputs from ATNS)