Chhattisgarh: 5-year-old daughter of kidnapped CoBRA commando pleads for release
The five-year-old daughter of a CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) commando has appealed for the release of her father, who is reportedly in the custody of Naxals in Chhattisgarh. The commando, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, had gone missing after Naxals ambushed a contingent of security personnel during an anti-insurgency operation on Saturday. The Naxals reportedly claimed they had taken Manhas into custody.
"Please, release my father," a five-year-old Shragvi begged, wiping away her tears as she spoke to reporters at her Jammu home, PTI reported. The rest of the family remained in a state of deep shock since hearing about the commando's disappearance on Saturday. The family reportedly said that they learned about the Naxal attack from the news, not the CRPF or the government.
"Nobody from the government or the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) informed us about the incident," said Meenu, the commando's wife. CoBRA is a specialized unit of the CRPF. Meenu said she contacted the CRPF headquarters in Jammu. She said, "I was told that there is nothing we can share with you. 'Once we get a clear picture, we will come to you.'"
Meenu said it was the government's duty to ensure the commando's safe return. "My husband served the country for the last 10 years and now it's the government's turn to ensure that he returns to us hale and hearty," she said, asking Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to raise the matter with the central government, the Prime Minister, and the Home Minister.
Meenu—who last spoke to Manhas at 9:30 pm on Friday—told PTI, "I got a telephone call from a person who introduced himself as a local reporter from Chhattisgarh." "He wanted me to send a picture of my husband along with an appeal to the Naxals," she said, adding that she did not respond to his calls after discussing the matter with the family.
Fighting back tears, Meenu told the news agency, "Rakeshwar Singh Manhas joined the CRPF in 2011 and he has been serving the nation for the last 10 years. He was transferred to Chhattisgarh only three months back from Assam."
Roughly 2,000 personnel from six camps were mobilized on Friday night for an anti-insurgency operation after being tipped-off about the presence of two top Maoist leaders in the Jagargunda-Jonaguda-Tarrem belt. On Saturday noon, a 450-strong contingent from Tarrem was ambushed by some 400 Naxals near Jonaguda. 22 security personnel died in the ensuing four-hour-long encounter. 30 sustained injuries and one, Manhas, was reported missing.