CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who went missing following the April 3 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, is being held by ultras and has asked the state government to appoint interlocutors to negotiate his release, claimed the Maoists.
The Maoists, on the other hand, have not made any formal demands for the commando’s release.
Police are investigating the authenticity of the ostensibly issued by the outlaws statement.
The banned organization also admitted that four of its cadres were killed in the clash, which also claimed the lives of 22 security personnel. Constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas of the 210th CoBRA battalion, an elite unit of the CRPF, went missing last Saturday after a gunfight along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts.
According to the CPI (Maoist) statement, 24 security personnel were killed in the clash. “2,000 police officers had arrived near Jiragudem village to carry out a major attack (on Saturday). To stop them, the PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) retaliated, killing 24 security personnel and injuring 31 others. While others escaped, we apprehended a police officer (CoBRA commando) on the spot “said a statement purportedly written by Maoists and widely circulated on the internet. It stated that the government should first announce the names of interlocutors before releasing the jawan. He will be safe in our custody until then, it said.
The two-page statement was issued in the name of Vikalp, the spokesperson for the Maoist Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC). The Maoists admitted that four cadres were killed in the Bijapur gunfight, and that the body of a female cadre could not be recovered from the scene.
Security forces recovered the body of a female Maoist from the site of the encounter. The ultras also claimed to have taken 14 weapons, 2,000 cartridges, and other materials from the meeting place.
The looted arms and ammunition are depicted in photographs included with the alleged statement. According to police sources, at least 12 Maoists were killed in the four-hour-long gunfight.
According to the police, ten weapons from the security personnel went missing after the attack, including seven AK-47 rifles, two SLR rifles, and one Light Machine Gun (LMG).
Meanwhile, a senior police officer stated that the statement’s veracity is being investigated. The authenticity of the Maoists’ statement claiming to have kidnapped the jawan is being investigated. Sundarraj P, Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range), told PTI that “further action will be taken accordingly.”
Police have been searching for Manhas nonstop, and local villagers, social organizations, local public representatives, and journalists are also being questioned.