Whereabouts of missing Arunachalee youth still unknown

[ Bengia Ajum ]

ITANAGAR, 21 Jan: On Thursday evening, as two Arunachalee youths, Miram Taron and Johny Yaying, were hunting in the forest of Lungta Jor in Upper Siang district, little did they know that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was just a few meters away from them.

Around 6:30 pm, the PLA tried to abduct both the boys, but Johny managed to escape and run for his life.

“Johny was carrying a gun. When the PLA tried to abduct him, he pointed the gun at them, which for a moment scared the PLA. He somehow managed to escape, but the PLA abducted Miram, who was unarmed and carrying only a torchlight,” informed a local resident of Zido village, near Tuting in Upper Siang district, to which both the boys belong. Johny also received injuries while escaping from the clutches of the PLA.

The area where the abduction took place is known as Lungta Jor and it is the traditional hunting ground of the Adi people. “It is five hours’ trek from Bishing village. Since our ancestral days, we have been hunting in this area. We never thought that the PLA would march way inside Indian territory like this,” the villager said.

Meanwhile, Taron’s father said that his son is innocent and was inside Indian territory at the time of his abduction by the PLA.

“I appeal to the government of India to ensure early and safe release of my son. I would like to appeal to the Chinese government also to immediately release my son, who is innocent and was on a hunting mission with his cousin,” said Opang Taron, Miram’s father.

A Class 8 student, Miram is the second youngest in the family of five siblings.

“People in our area celebrate the traditional hunting festival of the Adis, known as Aran, in the second week of February, though in the rest of the Adi belt it is celebrated in March. This was the first time that Miram went hunting to Lungta Jor in preparation for the coming Aran festival. We are very distressed and worried for his safety since we got the news of his abduction,” the father added.

Further, he alleged that an attempt is being made by the PLA to try to keep Arunachalee people away from the traditional hunting grounds along the LAC by indulging in kidnapping of innocent villagers.

“Our ancestors have hunted in these jungles. We will never stop hunting in these jungles. This will go against our tribal pride,” the father added. He also said that, so far, no central government authority has tried to reach him or other families.

“We are pinning our hopes on both the central and the state governments. We are hopeful that they will work hard to ensure the early return of my innocent son,” said Opang Taron.