Beijing: Two Indian nationals, who were being held hostage for about 20 days in the Chinese trade hub of Yiwu, were today shifted out of the town for safety by a team of Indian officials after intense negotiations.
Shyamsunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja are out of Yiwu and on the way to Shanghai, a top official the Indian Embassy here told PTI.
The Embassy official thanked the Chinese Foreign Ministry officials for prevailing on the local Yiwu administration to let the two to go out of the town for their safety even though they may have to face the court case regarding the payments due to the Chinese merchants from their company.
It is not clear yet whether the two hailing from Mumbai will stay put in Shanghai but for the time being they were released from the hotel in Yiwu which was surrounded by groups of angry Chinese traders who abducted them.
However, the duo cannot leave China as their travel documents have been impounded by the court in Yiwu in connection with the case.
Meanwhile, China today assured India that it has initiated criminal proceedings against five locals suspected for the torture of the two Indians and promised to address the issue besides giving due attention to the safety of Indian nationals
on its soil.
The Chinese traders were unwilling to let them go asserting that their company owed million of Yuan for the products bought from them and they will be permitted to leave only after payments are made.
Their case has become a diplomatic row of sorts between India and China after an Indian diplomat, S Balachandran fainted in Yiwu court while trying to secure their release on 31 December.
He is recovering in a hospital in Shanghai.
The Chinese government however denied any ill-treatment of the diplomat.
"Relevant reports saying that Indian consular officer was forbidden to take food and medicine and was besieged during his stay in Yiwu were not true" Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here today.
"I want to stress that China is a country under the rule of law and China attaches great importance to China-India relations.
"Relevant departments always maintain lawful rights and interests of Indians in China in accordance with law", he said.
Meanwhile, back in New Delhi, Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yan met separately with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and a senior official of the ministry, after which the Indian side expressed satisfaction at the steps taken.
"I had detailed discussion with your Foreign Minister. The Chinese government attaches great importance to this matter. We are working very hard to find a solution to this issue and to resolve it as early as possible," Zhang said.
The two Indians were put up in a hotel during the past two days under police security and Raheja told PTI earlier that the hotel was surrounded by group of Chinese traders who abducted them.
Though the court ordered their release on 31 December, the traders refused to let them go.
They literally snatched them as they clung on to the diplomat to leave with him for Shanghai.
In the process, Balachandran fainted and was rushed to a hospital with injuries.
The two were kidnapped by Chinese merchants on 15 December after the owner of the company to which they work for reportedly fled without clearing large sums of money owed to the local suppliers.
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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2012 22:49:56 IST