RAIPUR/SRINAGAR: An unidentified caller identifying himself as Maoist leader contacted some journalists in south Bastar on Monday claiming that a missing Cobra battalion personnel is safe in captivity of the Red cadres.Rakeshwar Singh Manhas from Jammu was missing after the Saturday’s Bijapur ambush encounter and the Chhattisgah Police feared that he was possibly taken as hostage by the Maoists as he couldn’t be traced during the 30 hours of intensive search and rescue operation.
“The caller identifying himself as Maoist leader Hidma stated that Manhas is alive in their custody and will not be harmed. To a query on when he would be released, no specific time was given except the assurance that the jawan would be set free subsequently,” said a journalist who received the call. The scribe asked the caller to share the image of the captured jawan to which he agreed. A senior police officer told TNIE the force had information about the purported call made to some journalists. “We are verifying it and accordingly initiate talks. Efforts will be made to get him released safely from the Maoists.”
Back in Jammu, the family of Manhas are keeping their fingers crossed that he would be released without harm. Meenu said she had last talked to her husband at 9.30 pm on Friday and he told her that he was leaving for an operation and packing food. “He told me he will return the next day.”Manhas, according to his wife, was posted in Chhattisgarh three months ago. “No CRPF or government official has visited us to brief us about the latest situation,” Meenu said, adding that it is the responsibility of the government to trace the missing jawan.The abducted jawan’s brother-in-law said the entire family is in shock ever since Manhas has gone missing.
Multiple units of security forces looking for jawan
Rakeshwar Singh Manhas from Jammu was with the unit that went out for the anti-Maoist operation on Saturday morning. His buddy was killed in the ambush in which 22 troopers were killed and 31 others injured. Multiple units of the security forces are still out in the jungles to look for the commando, and to intercept movement of the ultras.