Chinese PLA confirms 'boy from Indian side' in custody

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Chinese PLA confirms 'boy from Indian side' in custody
© Provided by The Times of India

GUWAHATI: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has traced a boy in their territory, who may be 17-year-old Miram Taron, reportedly captured by the PLA somewhere near the LAC in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

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The PLA has contacted their Indian counterpart, confirming that they have found a boy. However, it is yet to be ascertained whether he is Miram Taron, whose “abduction” has created a massive uproar in national politics ahead of Republic Day celebrations. “PLA has confirmed to their counterparts that they have found a boy, who is from the Indian side,” defence PRO-based in Tezpur, Lt Col Harshvardhan Pandey, told TOI on Sunday.

Even though the Indian Army or Union defence ministry has not officially divulged the details, sources in the Army said his handover will take some time according to protocol. “On the Arunachal side (India) of the LAC, there is no such information of any other person from India who went missing or was captured by the PLA of late. This boy, traced by the PLA, must be Miram Taron,” the source added.

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Earlier, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu said the defence ministry activated diplomatic channels with China to locate and bring back Taron.

PRO defence, Tezpur (Assam/Arunachal Pradesh), confirmed through its official Twitter handle on January 20 that PLA was contacted through the hotline for Taron’s return. “17 yr old youth Miram Tarom of #Zido #ArunachalPradesh was reportedly captured by #PLA across the LAC. On receipt of info, #IndianArmy imdtly contacted #PLA through #hotline. Assistance from #PLA has been sought to locate & return him as per protocol,” he tweeted.

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But it was Arunachal East MP, Tapir Gao, who broke the news on social media on Wednesday, drawing the attention of people outside Arunachal. He accused the Chinese PLA of abducting Miram Taron of Zido village on January 18 (Tuesday) from inside Indian territory — Lungta Jor area under Siyungla area (Bishing village) of Upper Siang district. “His (Taron’s) friend escaped from PLA and reported to the authorities. All the agencies of Govt of India are requested to step up for his early release,” Gao tweeted.

Since then, the issue triggered a political storm, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeting PM Narendra Modi for his “silence” on Taron’s “abduction by China” just ahead of the Republic Day celebrations. Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee president and former chief minister Nabam Tuki on Sunday fired a salvo at the Centre and the defence ministry for not being able to come out with a clear statement on the boy.

“He is an innocent boy and went to his own territory in Arunachal Pradesh for his own activities. It’s too late now. Why is the Union government taking so long to get the boy released from China? Why has it been delayed so long and there is no official reaction from the government of India and ministry of defence?” questioned Tuki. The Arunachal Congress has raised concern over repeated “abduction” of Indian citizens by the PLA of China from the state.

In September 2020, five youths, who were allegedly abducted by the PLA near the McMahon line in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri, were released after almost two weeks in Anjaw district, around 1,000 km away, on the India-China-Myanmar border tri-junction.

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