A pasture land where local people graze sheep, Barahoti in Chamoli district has a decades-long history of incursions by Chinese troops from across the McMahon Line close to it. The latest such instance happened on July 19. Chief minister Harish Rawat termed the matter as “worrisome”, while the Centre chose to downplay it as a “minor breach”.
Anupam Trivedi lists ten key points about the Barahoti stretch along the international border:
1) Barahoti, located in Uttarakhand’s border with China, is 397 km from the hill-state’s capital Dehradun
2) The scenic grassland in Chamoli district is connected roadways to Joshimath, and has a 100-km motorable road up to Rimkhim, the last Indian post
3) It requires a 3-km steep trek to Barahoti ridge, from where Tibet (under China) is visible
4) A 700-metre descend from the ridge takes one to pond called Parvati Kund. A little away, within the Barahoti pasture land is the seasonal Hoti river
5) Indian villagers worship the Parvati Kund. Permission from the local authorities is needed to visit the pond. Shepherds from Niti valley had been grazing their sheep for long across the Barahoti pasture land even as there are reports of Chinese thwarting them back frequently.
6) Sources say Chinese troops are often seen in the Barahaoti pasture land and also close to Parvati Kund. There is a small Kali and Shiva temple near the pond. Time and again, both shrines are reportedly pulled down by the Chinese and rebuilt by the Indians.
7) Sources say the Indian troops patrol till Tanjula area, which is some 2 kms from Barahoti
8) McMahon Line, the actual line of control between India and China, is located in the Barahoti area. Sources say China doesn’t follow it, and its troops cross the line tend to stake a claim over the Indian soil..
9) In 2013, Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna told in an internal security meeting in Delhi that China made 37 incursion attempts between 2007-2012 in Barahoti
A similar attempt in Barahoti area was reported in June 2014. Earlier this month, on July 19, Chinese soldiers signalled an Indian team of officials on a routine recce to go back in Barahoti area, according to the Chamoli district administration.