Guwahati: The 17-year-old from Arunachal Pradesh who was allegedly abducted by Chinese forces last month, and subsequently returned, has claimed that he was given electric shocks.
Speaking to ThePrint over the phone, Miriam Taron recalled his ordeal after he was picked up. “They blindfolded me and took me to their camp, where they kicked me and — using a stick that gives electric shocks, the kind you see in movies — electric shocks to me, first on my butt and then my back,” he said.
ThePrint reached to a defence ministry public relations officer from Tezpur, who was, however, unable to confirm Taron’s account.
Taron, a resident of Jido village in the state’s Upper Siang district, was picked up by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on 18 January while he was on a hunting trip with his friend in the Lungta Jor area.
China has, however, denied the charge of kidnapping, saying that it only “cracks down on illegal border entry and exit”.
News of Taron’s abduction went viral after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Arunachal East, Tapir Gao, tweeted about it on 19 January, urging the government to intervene.
Then, on 26 January, Arunachal Pradesh MP and Union law minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted about a “hotline exchange” between the Indian Army and the PLA, saying that the latter had “responded positively”. Taron was returned a day later at the Wacha-Damai interaction point.
10 days in PLA camps
Taron said that he and his friend, Johny Yaiying, had set out for Lungta Jor — an area 40 km from his village — in the morning, covering half the distance by bike and the rest on foot through the jungle. By the time they arrived, it was 6.30 pm.
“We couldn’t see anything. We were walking with a torch looking around for any shikar (game). They (the PLA) must’ve been observing us from hiding,” he said, adding, “Suddenly, we were surrounded by men in uniform. There must have been 15 of them.”
Taron said that while Yaiying managed to escape, he himself was captured. “They tried to talk to me, but I couldn’t understand them. I tried explaining that I was there only to hunt,” he said.
He was then brought blindfolded to a camp, where he was confined for more than a week, he said. The blindfold was never removed, so Taron was unable to see his surroundings. “I kept thinking that I was going to die and that I would not get to meet my family,” he said.
“From the second day, they gave me food — there was rice, chicken. When I had to go to the bathroom, I would gesture and they would assist me (as the blindfold would be kept on),” he said.
Eventually, he was taken by a vehicle to a second camp, and handed over to the Indian Army a day later.
The family’s ordeal
Those 10 days were an ordeal for Taron’s family, too. “We were afraid for his life. My wife was inconsolable — she had to be hospitalised,” said the 17 year-old’s father, Opang Taron.
It was Opang who lodged an FIR after Yaiying told him about his son’s “abduction”, and notified the local authorities as well as MP Tapir Gao.
“You can imagine how we must have felt, given that when our son came back from the enemy camp, everyone started crying out of happiness,” Opang said.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)
An earlier version of this report used the word ‘electrocuted’ instead of ‘received electric shocks’. This was an inadvertent mistranslation from Hindi, in which Miram spoke. The error is regretted.
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