The Indian Army on Tuesday facilitated the safe return of a youth from Arunachal Pradesh who had reportedly crossed over to the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China in search of herbs on March 19.
People living on both sides of the McMahon Line, the India-China border, are often said to cross over to collect herbs such as the cordyceps, a caterpillar fungus commonly known as the Himalayan Viagra and highly valued as an aphrodisiac.
Togley Singkam, 21, had gone to collect traditional herbs from the land belonging to the Naa clan of the Tagin tribe in Upper Subansiri district last month. According to the district’s Tagin Cultural Society, Chinese soldiers ambushed him and two other friends near the border.
The other two, Gamshi Chadar and Ronya Nade managed to escape and report the incident to the local authorities.
The Indian Army played down the “ambush” part and said officials swung into action after getting information about the missing youth.
“Our personnel approached the Chinese side utilising the established border management mechanism. Owing to peace and tranquillity that is existing in the region and the bonhomie that has developed between both the border guarding forces, Mr. Singkam was handed over to us on Tuesday,” said Defence spokesperson, Lt. Col. P. Khongsai.
The Arunachali youth has been quarantined by the Army at a forward post in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. He would be handed over to his family after 14 days and a health check-up, officials said.