File photo: Kiren Rijiju

Union law and justice minister Kiren Rijiju on January 26 said that the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) has responded positively on handing over of a missing Arunachal Pradesh teenager and suggested a place of release.

The teenager was reportedly kidnapped by the PLA a week ago from the Indian territory.

Giving an update on the issue, Kiren Rijiju, who is an MP representing the state, tweeted: “Hotline exchanged on Republic Day by Indian army with Chinese PLA. PLA responded positively indicating handing over of our national and suggested a place of release. They are likely to intimate date and time soon. Delay attributed to bad weather conditions on their side.”

On January 25, Union minister Rijiju had said in a tweet: “We are constantly following the case from day one. I appeal to everyone to be cautious in making statements which are not based on facts because the safety and safe return of our Young Arunachal Pradesh youth is the priority.”

The Arunachal Pradesh government had also sought the defence ministry’s intervention to ensure the safe return of the teenager.

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu had earlier said that the defence ministry has taken up the matter with the Chinese authority through diplomatic channels.

“I am hopeful that the youth would be released and return to his village soon,” the chief minister had told the media in Itanagar.

The Chinese army reportedly abducted the teenager from the Indian territory where China had constructed a 3-4 km road in 2018.

The teenager’s friend, who managed to escape, reported the matter to the authorities and brought it to the notice of Tapir Gao, a BJP MP from the Arunachal East parliamentary constituency.

Gao had tweeted about the incident last week.

In September 2020, the Chinese PLA had reportedly kidnapped five boys from Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district before releasing them after about a week.

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