Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said the Indian Army has reached out to their counterparts in China over reports that five villagers from Arunachal Pradesh were “abducted” by the People’s Liberation Army on September 4. Rijiju, who is the MP from Arunachal West constituency, was responding to a tweet by a journalist from ABP News.

The Arunachal Pradesh Police had launched an investigation on Saturday to look into allegations that Chinese had kidnapped the villagers from the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, situated along the Indo-China border in the state. The five persons were reportedly picked up by a team of the People’s Liberation Army from a jungle where they were hunting. The development came even as India and China are engaged at a diplomatic level to solve the escalated border dispute between the two countries.

On Sunday, Ashish K Singh, a journalist with the ABP News channel asked about the status of the five missing Indians in a tweet. “Out of concern, I ask again...What is the update on those 5 Indians reportedly abducted by Chinese PLA in Arunachal Pradesh as reported yesterday ?” he wrote and tagged the Rijiju, Chief Minister Pema Khandu and the Ministry of External Affairs.

Rijiju responded to this, saying the Army has sent a message to China to inquire about the matter. “The Indian Army has already sent hotline message to the counterpart PLA establishment at the border point in Arunachal Pradesh,” he wrote. “Response is awaited.”

In March, the Chinese army had abducted a 21-year-old man from Asapila sector near the McMahon line. He was released after 19 days in captivity.

India and China have again become locked in a standoff in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake in Ladakh. On September 1, India said that China had once again engaged in provocative military maneuvers along the Line of Actual Control. The new escalation in border tensions came a day after the Indian Army said its soldiers had thwarted similar movement of the Chinese military in the South Bank area.

The escalation in tensions came over two months after the troops of both the countries clashed on the border on June 15, in Ladakh. Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives and 76 were injured. An unidentified number of Chinese soldiers also died in the clash.

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