‘Indian boy’ found in China, identity being ascertained, says army


China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) has communicated to India that they have found an “Indian boy” on their side but are yet to ascertain his identity, the Indian Army said on Sunday.

The development came two days after the Indian Army sought assistance from their Chinese counterpart to trace Miram Taron, a 17-year-old native of Zido village in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, who went missing from near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on January 18. The teen, officials believe, was allegedly abducted by the PLA when he and a few others had gone hunting in the bordering region last week. “The Chinese PLA has confirmed that they have an Indian boy on their side. Further details, including about his identity, are awaited,” Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande, PRO (Defence), Tezpur, Assam, said.

However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Arunachal East, Tapir Gao, who had earlier tweeted about the alleged abduction, claimed the teen found by the PLA was Taron. “I have been informed that the Chinese PLA confirmed to the Indian Army that the youth missing from Upper Siang has been located on their side. This was disclosed in a meeting with Union defence minister Rajnath Singh today as well. It could take a few more days to complete required formalities and bring him back to India.”

Officials familiar with the matter also said that once the identity of the teen found by the PLA is confirmed, it may take another one week before he is returned to India.

On January 19, the BJP MP tweeted that the teen was “abducted from inside Indian territory at Lungta Jor under Siyungla area (Bishing village) of Upper Siang district” by the PLA.

Gao said the news of Taron’s abduction was revealed by his friend who managed to escape from the PLA. He also claimed that China has built 3-4 kms of road in that area inside Indian territory in 2018.

HT tried to reach out to authorities in Upper Siang district about Sunday’s development but could not get a response immediately.

It is not for the first time that Indian citizens have gone missing from the border region. In September 2020, five people from the Tagin tribe who worked as porters for the Indian Army, went missing from Upper Subansiri on the Indian side of the McMahon line bifurcating Arunachal Pradesh and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

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