BEIJING/HYDERABAD: The two Indian traders, who were being held hostage for about 20 days in the Chinese trade hub of Yiwu, got some respite on Wednesday when they were shifted out of the town to safety by a team of Indian Embassy officials after intense negotiations. The duo - Shyamsunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja - are now housed in a hotel under the protection of the Consulate General of India.
But though bailed out from the city, the traders may still have to face the court case regarding the payments due to the Chinese merchants from their company.
“I talked to my brother an hour ago and they will reach Shanghai by 9.30 p.m. IST.
Five days without proper food and medicines has taken a toll on his health. He is a diabetic, his blood pressure is low and he sounded ill over the phone,” said a worried Kamal Raheja, brother of Deepak Raheja.
Despite their release, the duo cannot leave China as their travel documents have been impounded by the court in Yiwu.
But the release from the city is a major relief, says Kamal.
“They were mistreated by the traders even at the hotel in Yiwu where they were housed under police protection. They did not allow food to be supplied to my brother and his colleague and it was only on Wednesday that they were allowed to eat something,” alleged Kamal, a Hyderabad-based businessman.
Agrawal and Raheja were detained by local traders at Yiwu since December 14 as their employer absconded owing close to 1.58 million dollars to them. The Chinese traders insisted that they will be permitted to leave only after payments are made.
The row has also since become a diplomatic issue between India and China after an Indian diplomat, S Balachandran, fainted in Yiwu court while trying to secure their release on December 31. But the Chinese government denied any illtreatment of the diplomat.