"PLA soldiers panicked into retreat" and at least 38 of them were washed away: Report (File)
The account of the Galwan violence in Australian newspaper "The Klaxon" -- pieced together by a group of social media researchers -- claims the Chinese soldiers who drowned in the Galwan river in June 2020, were in retreat after the clash with Indian troops. The report says China had lost 42 soldiers in the clash -- many more than the four it had claimed. The "PLA soldiers panicked into retreat" and at least 38 of them were washed away, the report said.
Anthony Klan, the Editor of The Klaxon, told NDTV in an exclusive interview that the Indian soldiers had come to ascertain whether the Chinese has removed their encampments in the buffer zone when the scuffle broke out. "In heading back across the river... the evidence is, the Chinese soldiers got washed away," he said, adding that much of this information was from "first-hand accounts deleted from the Chinese social media".
In its report, The Klaxon said India's Colonel Santosh Babu and his troops had gone to the disputed area on June 15 to attempt to remove the Chinese encroachment, where People's Liberation Army Colonel Qi Fabao was present along with nearly 150 soldiers. But Qi Fabao "ordered his troops to form a battle formation, instead of discussing the issue on the lines of mutual consent made on June 6, 2021".
Colonel Fabao attacked the Indian troops and to allow him to escape, two other PLA officers -- battalion commander Chen Hongjun and soldier Chen Xiangrong -- started a physical scuffle with the Indian troops, using steel pipes, sticks and stones. Colonel Fabao was "hit in the head by an Indian army solider", and "rushed back with serious injuries", the report read.
Quoting the social media researchers' report titled "Galwan Decoded", The Klaxon then reported that Hongjun and Xiangrong were "immediately silenced by the Indian army".
It said that "after Col. Fabao left the arena", and watching the "bodies of Major Chen Hongrun, Junior Sargeant Xiao Siyan and Private Chen Xianrong," that "PLA soldiers panicked into retreat".
"Wang Zhuoran, a 1996-born native of Luohe City, Yancheng County, Henan, came forward along with his companion Ma Ming to help his scattered retreating comrades out of danger by guiding (their) way to retreat back," the report read.
"The PLA soldiers didn't even have time to wear water pants. They decided to cross the icy water of the river in pitch dark under the guidance of Wang... The river rose suddenly and injured comrades kept slipping and (being) washed downstream," the Klaxon reported, quoting the social media researchers' report.
Colonel Santosh Babu gave his life for the country in the fighting along with 19 other soldiers.
In China's official version of events, only one soldier - Junior Sergeant Wang Zhuoran- drowned. Qi Fabao, the regiment commander who sustained a serious head injury, was among the 1,200 torchbearers in the Winter Olympics in Beijing which starts tomorrow.
He was feted as a hero by the Chinese state media, which reported his inclusion in the games.
Beijing went to "extreme lengths to silence discussion about the battle" and in particular, any "discussion about the true number Chinese casualties'', the Australian daily reported.