Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat

By Mohit Dubey

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat
Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat

Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government said on Wednesday Chinese troops had been spotted within its territory by a local administrative team on July 19 and were asked to return.

Senior state government officials said the incursion was spotted in Badahoti in Chamoli district. District Magistrate Vinod Kumar Suman told IANS that he had sent a report to “appropriate authorities” but refused to elaborate.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat also confirmed the incursion, saying he had reported the matter to the Union Home Ministry. “It is a serious matter. I am sure the central government would look into the issue,” he added.

Uttarakhand shares a 350-km-long boundary with China and incursions have been reported in the past too. Only last year some boys grazing cattle were beaten up by Chinese army men and asked to retreat.

Sources said the administration sends teams to Badahoti, which lies in very tough terrain over 100 km from Joshimath, thrice a year — twice in summer and once in winter.

The area can only be reached on foot. A team of 19 government officials, led by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Yogendra Singh had on July 19 left for the “summer inspection”.

The team is said to have spotted the “presence of Chinese soldiers on the soil”. When they engaged in eye-to-eye contact with the soldiers, the Chinese troopers asked them to leave and go back, an official informed.

The team retreated to Rimkhim and informed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) teams posted there. They then informed the district magistrate who passed the information to the chief ministers office. The Chinese retreated to their own side after spending 40 minutes on Indian soil.