Itanagar: “We know it’s been more than six years, but we are his family, so we haven’t lost hope and still believe that our father is alive. But even if he is not, we at least wish to know what happened to him. So please help us!”
This was the appeal made by the family of Tapor Pullom to the Government of India in a press conference at the Arunachal Press Club here on Sunday.
Pullom (54), a native of Monigaon village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Shi-Yomi district, was allegedly abducted by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2015. His whereabouts remains a mystery till date and his family members are stuck in an agonizing limbo.
“It was on September 11, 2015 when my father-in-law and one of his friends, Taka Yorchi, left for Taji Boge from Monigaon to hunt and collect herbs. That was the last time we saw him,” Amoni Diru Pullom, the daughter-in-law of Pullom said.
Taji Boge which falls along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh is around 50 km from Monigaon. The locals usually hunt in the area during September.
Amoni said Yorchi returned home alone from the expedition soon after and when asked about Pullom, he told his family that he would return soon.
“He (Yorchi) told us that he had to come back as he fell sick. But several days passed and there were no signs of our father. We then started to rigorously question Yorchi after which he finally disclosed that the ‘ghore’ (Chinese Army in local terms) had taken him,” Amoni said.
A local search party was then sent to the Taji Boge area to find Pullom but only his belongings and leftovers were found. Amoni said it was then after they reported the matter to the local police and administration.
“We also reported the incident to the Indian Army but we did not receive a positive response from any of them. It was then in November 2015 when we submitted a representation to Kiren Rijiju who was then the minister of state for home affairs,” she said.
Amoni said Rijiju assured to look into the matter.
“Following the assurance, we had no other choice but to wait. As Monigaon is deprived of mobile and internet connectivity till date, we used to travel all the way to Aalo with hope to read or watch news regarding our father but nothing happened,” she said, adding that the process continued for several years.
Aalo, the headquarters of West Siang district, is around 250 km from Monigaon.
Amoni said it was, however, the news of 5 youths and then Miram Taron being abducted and later released by the PLA in 2020 and 2021, respectively, that gave them renewed hope of Pullom’s return.
“We would like to appeal to the Government of India and its agencies concerned to kindly make efforts to trace the whereabouts of our father. Even if he is dead, at least let us know how he died so that we can live in peace. We are not asking for anything else,” Amoni said.
Pullom’s family also thanked Arunachal East Lok Sabha MP Tapir Gao, former MP and sitting Congress legislator from Pasighat Ninong Ering, Rijiju and others for sharing their concerns.
Earlier this month, MP Gao had raised the issue in the Parliament and appealed to the Central government and its agencies to bring Pullom back.
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