Chhattisgarh: Maoists release photo of abducted CoBRA commando

The jawan went missing after the April 3 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region.

Chhattisgarh: Maoists release photo of abducted CoBRA commando
Google. Com

Maoists on Wednesday released a photo of the missing CoBRA commando as evidence that he was in their custody.

The jawan went missing after the April 3 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region.

The picture comes a day after Maoist spokesman Vikalp released a press statement confirming the CRPF jawan Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, member of elite CoBRA force, was "captured" during the encounter and that the government must first announce names of interlocutors for his release. Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee member said the commando would remain safe in their custody as a prisoner

The picture of Manhas shows him sitting on a blue tarpaulin in a forest inside a temporary camp. Although, his colleagues said the picture looked old and he seemed to have no injury either. The picture was released by Maoists and sent to few local reporters in Bijapur.

Manhas had gone missing on April 3 soon after the skirmish took place with security personnel in Tekulguda village at the Bijapur-Sukma border. At least 22 jawans of CoBRA, district reserve guards and special task force were killed and several injured in one of the bloodiest attacks by the Maoists.

Although the press statement was issued on Tuesday evening, Bastar range IG P Sundarraj said police were verifying the authenticity of it and they were also trying to trace the location of the 'missing jawan'.

Meanwhile, the 'jail bandi rihayi Samiti members, including tribal activist Soni Sori and Sujeet Sharma, have appealed to Maoists to release the jawan at the earliest as his family was going through a difficult time.

It further said, "In case there's any delay in release and return of jawan, then a small team of the committee would proceed on April 7 towards the spot of the incident in Tekulguda forest. Without discussing anything other than the release of the jawan, we will put out demand before the representatives of Maoists and initiate."

Reports were coming in that Sori along with local reporters had gone inside the forest to have a talk with Maoists for the release of the jawan.