Missing hunters from Arunachal who crossed LAC handed over to India by China

The five Indian hunters who went missing from Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district and were found by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) returned to India on Saturday. This comes three days after PLA confirmed that they were found on the Chinese side and almost 10 days after they went missing.

The hunters from Upper Subansiri District had also inadvertently strayed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the Indian Army approached PLA to trace and return them, a statement from the army read.

The army took over all five individuals at Kibitu on September 12 after completing all the formalities. The individuals will now be quarantined for 14 days as per COVID-19 protocol and will thereafter be handed over to their family members, the statement added.

On Friday, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju had confirmed that the individuals will be handed over to India by the PLA troops. “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 had tweeted.

The five hunters had inadvertently crossed over to the other side and gone missing on September 2 from the Sino-Indian border in the district. China had on September 7 brushed off concerns over the whereabouts of the youths from a village in Arunachal Pradesh allegedly abducted by the PLA and said it has never recognised the northeastern state which it claims is part of south Tibet.

The Indian Army had told its Chinese counterpart about the five civilians, who were engaged as guides and porters by the Army in the Upper Subansiri district on the Sino-India border, on September 5. Those allegedly ‘abducted’ have been identified as Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker and Ngaru Diri. The Arunachal villagers had gone for hunting in a jungle when they were allegedly kidnapped by the PLA.

Two members of the group reportedly returned home and informed that they had been whisked away by the Chinese troops from Sera-7, an Army patrol zone located about 12 km further north of Nacho, which is the last administrative circle along the McMahon Line and is around 120 km from the district headquarters Daporijo.

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