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China's PLA to hand over five 'missing' Arunachal men to India on Saturday Arunachal Pradesh

China's PLA to hand over five 'missing' Arunachal men to India on Saturday

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 11 Sep 2020, 11:45 pm

Itanagar/IBNS: The Chinese army has said it will hand over the five men from Arunachal Pradesh, who had gone missing, to India, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has tweeted.

"The Chinese PLA has confirmed to Indian Army to hand over the youths from Arunachal Pradesh to our side. The handing over is likely to take place anytime tomorrow i.e. 12th September 2020 at a designated location," he wrote.

The five men who had been missing since September 1 were hunters, the army had said in a statement, but an NDTV report said the locals had confirmed they were porters.

Earlier this week, China had confirmed the presence of the five men on their side.

"As a result of persistent efforts of the 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 September 8 responded on hotline and confirmed that the missing Indians have been found on their side," the Army had said in a statement.

The army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) use the local people as porters and guides, who carry supplies to strategic points along the McMahon Line during Long-Range Patrols (LRPs), an NDTV report said.

The report, quoting sources, said that these people often go to higher altitudes to collect gumba, a traditional medicine, and hunt mask dear, both highly-priced in the international grey market. It is possible that the men may have crossed the border while hunting or gathering herbs.

According to a social media post by a relative of one of the missing men, the persons who had gone missing are Tanu Bakar, Prasat Ringling, Ngaru Diri, Dongtu Ebiya and Toch Singkam.

The post claimed that the men were abducted by the China's People's Liberation Army or PLA , after which it was widely shared with Arunachal Pradesh Congress MLA and former MP Ninong Ering and MP from Arunachal East and top BJP leader Tapir Gao endorsing the claim and adding that a similar incident had also happened a few months back.  

Arunachal Times, a leading local newspaper, reported the incident based on the tweet.

The Arunachal Pradesh Police then sent a team to the remote Upper Subansiri district near India-China border to “verify the facts” about media reports that five people of the state had been kidnapped by the Chinese army amid strained relations between the two countries.