Chhattisgarh: Maoists release picture of the commando in their custody
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) today released a picture of a commando from the CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) unit, confirming that he is in their custody. Rakeshwar Singh Manhas had gone missing after the Naxals ambushed a contingent of the security personnel during an encounter in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, in which several lost their lives. Here are more details on this.
Picture shows Manhas sitting under a temporary shelter
In the picture released by the Maoists, Manhas can be seen sitting on a mat placed below a temporary shelter possibly built at a Maoist camp. The photo has been released a day after Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) of the banned outfit issued a press note asking the government to mandate mediators to whom Manhas could be handed over.
Government should declare names of interlocutors: Maoists
On Monday, local reporters had received phone calls claiming that Manhas was in custody of the Maoists. This was later confirmed by the Maoists yesterday. "The government must declare the names of interlocutors. After that, we will release the policeman in our custody. Till then, he will be safe under our security (sic)," Vikalp, a spokesperson of the Maoists, reportedly said.
Bastar IG on Tuesday described Manhas as 'missing'
However, the Bastar Inspector General (IG) of Police on Tuesday released a statement saying Manhas was still missing, adding that the authenticity of the press note was being checked. "We got information through a Maoist press release about a jawan in their custody. We are still verifying the press release and appropriate decisions will be taken accordingly (sic)," P Sundarraj was quoted as saying.
Government's duty to ensure he returns home safely: Family
Earlier, Manhas's family had appealed to the government to ensure the commando's safe return. "My husband served the country for the last 10 years and now it is the government's turn to ensure that he returns to us hale and hearty," his wife reportedly said.
Saturday's attack claimed the lives of 22 security personnel
On Saturday around 11:10 am, a fire-fight broke out between the armed forces and the Maoists at the Sukma-Bijapur border. The Naxal attack, one of the worst in years, ended up claiming the lives of 22 security personnel and injuring 31. Reports suggest around 20 Maoists were also killed. The Maoists, however, have claimed in their statement that only four of their members died.