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An Indian teenager has been kidnapped by Chinese troops near the border between the two countries, a local politician said.
Tapir Gao, an Indian member of parliament representing a seat in the northeast border state of Arunachal Pradesh, tweeted about the alleged kidnapping on Wednesday.
The lawmaker said 17-year-old Miram Taron was taken by China’s border patrol troops near Zido village in Arunachal Pradesh on 18 January, an area on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border.
China contests India’s claims over the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls Zangnan and describes as an “integral part” of China.
Mr Gao has asked the federal government to intervene and help in getting Miram released.
In another tweet, Mr Gao alleged the teenager’s friend, Johny Yaiying, had also been kidnapped by Chinese troops, but had managed to escape and report the abduction to authorities.
Both the boys are local hunters from the village.
Mr Gao told the Press Trust of India news agency that the incident had taken place near the Tsangpo river that enters India in Arunachal Pradesh.
The river is known as the Siang in the state and as the Brahmaputra in another neighbouring northeastern state, Assam.
Chinese #PLA has abducted Sh Miram Taron, 17 years of Zido vill. yesterday 18th Jan 2022 from inside Indian territory, Lungta Jor area (China built 3-4 kms road inside India in 2018) under Siyungla area (Bishing village) of Upper Siang dist, Arunachal Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/ecKzGfgjB7
— Tapir Gao (@TapirGao) January 19, 2022
The Indian army has contacted China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) over the teenager’s alleged abduction through an established “hotline” between the countries, according to several Indian media reports.
“Regarding the incident of the missing youth named Miram Taron from Arunachal Pradesh, it is informed that on receipt of the information, the Indian Army immediately contacted the PLA through established mechanism of hotline informing that an individual, who was collecting herbs and hunting, has lost his way and cannot be found,” an unnamed source told the News18 network.
“Assistance from PLA has been sought to locate the individual on their side and return him as per established protocol,” the source added.
Former Arunachal MP Ninong Ering, in a tweet, said “the Chinese intrusion in our land must be checked.”
— Ninong Ering 🇮🇳 (@ninong_erring) January 20, 2022
“The border is extensive and not guarded at places. Abduction and incursion is on and needs to be taken up seriously,” he added.
“We should make China realise and be aware of us.”
India’s primary national opposition party, the Congress, accused prime minister Narendra Modi of remaining quiet over the issue.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted saying the abduction of the teenager “does not bother” the prime minister.
"We've come to know that 17-year-old Miram Taron has been abducted by China's PLA from Arunachal Pradesh's Zido area, Upper Siang district, Lungta Jor area...It's unfortunate that Chinese are intruding (into Indian territory)," claims Ninong Ering, Congress MLA pic.twitter.com/UzAL7dwGHC
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2022
“Just days before the Republic Day [26 January] the Chinese have abducted an Indian citizen. We are with the family of Miram Taron, and we will not lose hope and will not accept defeat,” he said in a tweet in the Hindi language.
This is not the first time Chinese troops have abducted Indians in the state.
In September 2020, PLA troops had kidnapped five men from near the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh. They were released a week later.
Before that, in March 2020, a 21-year-old man was taken by Chinese troops from the Asapila sector near Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district.
Reports at the time said Chinese troops had ambushed them and abducted them at gunpoint. He was later released on 7 April 2020.
China had, at the end of last year, “renamed” 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh in a bid to reinforce its claim over the territory, that Beijing also refers to as “South Tibet”.