The Army has reached out to their counterparts in China over media reports that five men from Arunachal Pradesh have been “kidnapped” by Chinese forces, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said Sunday night.
Mr Rijiju, who is the MP from the state’s Arunachal West constituency, was responding to a tweet by a journalist from a Hindi television news channel.
“The Indian Army has already sent hotline message to the counterpart PLA establishment at the border point in Arunachal Pradesh. Response is awaited,” Mr Rijiju posted.
Earlier, the journalist in question wrote: “Out of concern, I ask again. What is the update on those 5 Indians reportedly abducted by Chinese #PLA in #ArunachalPradesh as reported yesterday?” and tagged the External Affairs Ministry, Mr Rijiju and Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
The Indian Army has already sent hotline message to the counterpart PLA establishment at the border point in Arunachal Pradesh. Response is awaited. https://t.co/eo6G9ZwPQ9
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) September 6, 2020
On Saturday a leading local newspaper published a report claiming five men from the Tagin community, who lived in a village near a town called Nacho, had been abducted. They were out hunting in the jungles at the time of the alleged abduction, the newspaper said.
The report was based on the account of a relative who claimed they had been kidnapped by the Chinese army; the claim was made in a social media post that was subsequently widely shared.
Nacho, which is located in the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, falls under Mr Rijiju’s Lok Sabha constituency.
Neither the Indian Army nor the state government has, so far, confirmed these claims.
A team of police officers has been dispatched to the remote area to investigate these claims – the village is only accessible by foot – but they have to report back.
“We got to know about the incident from media reports and social media post. We have discussed the matter with the police headquarters and we have dispatched a team led by the officer-in-charge of the Nacho police station to the area to verify the facts,” Upper Subansiri’s Superintendent of Police Taru Gussar told NDTV over phone yesterday.
“So far there has been no formal police complaint of this but since the matter is sensitive, we have sent our men to ascertain the facts with the villagers and relatives. In the past also such incidents have happened in these areas. We have taken this seriously,” he said.
The newspaper report also said that two other villagers, who had accompanied the kidnapped men and managed to escape, narrated the incident to the villagers.
The alleged incident comes close on the heels of a similar one in the state in March, when Tongle Sinkam, 21, was allegedly kidnapped by the Chinese army after he reportedly crossed over the McMohan Line to the Chinese side in search of herbs.
He was handed over to the Indian Army after 14 days.
The McMohan Line, an imaginary line that acts as a border between India and China in Arunachal Pradesh, is over 100 km from Nacho.