A warm welcome awaited Miram Taron today as he reunited with his family in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Siang district about two weeks after the 17-year-old had gone missing along the Line of Actual Control with China, triggering concern nationwide.
The teen had gone missing on January 18. The next day, the Indian Army had approached the Chinese side, asking for assistance in tracing and returning the teen if he was taken in custody.
On January 27, he was handed back to India by the Chinese Army. "The Chinese PLA has handed over the young boy from Arunachal Pradesh Shri Miram Taron to Indian Army," Union Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted. There was reportedly a delay earlier in repatriating him due to bad weather conditions in the mountainous area.
Today, Apun Taron, the teen's father, was elated to see his son back and thanked the centre for the efforts in coordinating his return and bringing him back safely. His neighbours in the Zido village too shared the family's sentiments.
"I am happy to return to my home. Thanks to the India Army, and all my well-wishers for helping me and making sure I could reunite with the family," Miriam Taron told reporters.
"Initially, I didn't know where I was but after some time, I came to know that I was with the Chinese PLA me - they had taken me to their camp. Four times a day I was given food in their camp," he added.
His father expressed his gratitude towards the Indian government. "Today I am happy and thanked the Indian government and, especially media, for highlighting the story and helping my son to return."
Villagers and well-wishers thronged to Tuting to welcome him. A grand feast was organised in his village.
It was earlier suspected that the 17-year old was abducted by the Chinese PLA.
On January 19, Arunachal East MP Tapir Gao claimed that a 17-year-old youth has been abducted from inside Indian territory. Mr Gao claimed that the youth was 'abducted' from the Upper Siang district.
Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh shares an international boundary with China. Oftentimes, people from the northeastern state venture into forests for hunting.
China claimed the teen "illegally" into its territory, news agency Reuters reported.