Chinese incursions are a regular affair in Arunachal, reveal locals
This article from 2013.
The land of rising sun has turned into the land of Chinese incursions. Arunachal Pradesh has been witness to several intrusions with the latest being last month. Headlines Today/Aaj Tak is the first channel to reach Chaglagam, the last village on the Indo-China border in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh. This sleepy hamlet saw the Chinese Army arrive, stay and leave – all with a lot of imposition with it. Around 12th August they not only entered almost 40kms into India but also held a few porters hostage for several hours.
42-year-old porter Kamthalam Thapa recounts his rendezvous with the Chinese army, “We met the Chinese army on 12th August. We were held captive for several hours and released later. This doesn’t happen usually but it happened this year with us.”
Kamthalam is not the only one kept in Chinese custody for several hours. He along with others met the Chinese when they were very much in Indian territory. The Chinese incursion this time has been documented with the help of evidence provided by these porters who travel on this route for a living. Some of them go to the forest to collect wood and cultivate poppy.
His companion Chamba Thapa, a porter, dressed in traditional attire also had similar things to say, “We were caught on our way by the Chinese army. We had no option but to return back to the base. The Chinese went away so they left us.”
The Indian government has maintained a stoic silence on the Chinese incursion but Aaj Tak/Headlines Today has evidence of the intrusion.
Moreover, the porters story is not the only tale. There is more evidence than just the porters that the Chinese army was here.
The Chinese have left wrappers of eatables in the Indian boundary and not just once but several times.
A regular porter with the army, Ambalam Chapa has stood witness to this several times. “We are porters. When we go with Army we find a lot of Chinese items littered here and there, from packets of biscuits and other eatables to other items. This is not the first time but I have seen this earlier also in past two three years. There also times when we have seen Chinese flags in the Indian region,” says Ambalam.
So are these visits by the Chines timed and planned?
“Porters tell us that almost every year in July or August they see the Chinese army. We need to make roads on this side, the porters have to travel for days together. Even when the Army goes for patrolling, the locals of Chaglagam go for help,” says Mailu Tega, a local Congress leader.
For social activist Ritemsu Manyu, it is an everyday fight. “Chinese entering the Indian territory is not for the first time. They come beyond the border line many times. The Indian Army sees this during its patrolling in the area. The road conditions are so bad here that several times it is locked from rest of the country for several months.”
Chaglagam, the last village on the Indo-China border in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh is a sleepy village with around fifty families living here. Most of them survive on local cultivation or serving as porters for the forces deployed on the border.
Chaglagam has no power supply or gas supply. There is an ITBPF camp from which villagers get local stuff for daily use. Besides this, it is a border town with just one telephone in the village for communication, forget about mobile phones.
The locals have to walk to the nearest village to get fresh supply of food and vegetables. The bad road conditions makes plying of vehicles very difficult on this route and the Border Road Organization is still far from providing motorable roads.
Even the nearest village to fetch daily requirements and vegetables is 50kms away.
State BJP President Tai Tagak echoes the concerns of the locals. “The BRO maintains this road but they are in very bad condition. The roads close down and there are no medical supplies also in the region. The government should take care of the basic facilities in the region.”
On the contrary, the locals who have been there have much to share about the life beyond the barbed wire, rather the mountains.
The Mac Mohan Line, formidable boundary between India and China has left some families divided. According to Kamthalum Thapa, “The elder brother of my father lives there so we go regularly. There are very good roads in China upto the border. They are making more roads but this side of the border has a lot of problems. We have to cross dense forest.”
Mailu Tega, too has similar sentiments, “There have been so many instances when China has entered into our region. They do not follow rules and they enter the farms of the locals and write that it is our area. We do not know when will we get a proper border line like the Indo-Pak border or Indo-Bangladesh border.”
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