‘Please Free My Father’: CRPF Jawan’s Daughter Appeals to Naxals

The CRPF jawan’s daughter released a video on Sunday, 4 March, urging the Maoists to release her father.

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File photo of an encounter between armed forces personnel and rebels.
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“Please, free my father,” pleaded the five-year-old daughter of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a CoBRA (CRPF) commando kidnapped by Naxals after an attack in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh.

Manhas, a resident of Jammu & Kashmir, was finally traced after 36 hours of the shoot-out with Maoists. He is reported to be held hostage by the Maoists.

Manhas’ daughter released a video on Sunday, 4 March, urging the Maoists to release her father.

The paramilitary jawan was reported to be missing after the encounter on Saturday. The video was released soon after a message went viral on social media, claiming that Manhas had been captured by the Maoists.

Two journalists from Bijapur are said to have received calls from the Maoists on Monday post the kidnapping.

Ganesh Mishra, president of the Bijapur Press Club, while speaking to media, said, "Journalist Raja Rathore and I received calls from unknown numbers. The callers, without disclosing their identity, said Manhas was with them and that they will release the jawan in two-three days.”

The kidnapped jawan is reportedly being held hostage by People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army’s (PLGA) Battalion number 1, headed by dreaded commander Madvi Hidma. Hidma is at the top of the police’s wanted list. The police have announced a reward of Rs 40 lakh for his capture.

It is the same naxal battalion which ambushed the 2,000-strong joint security forces team, comprising STF, DRG, COBRA and CRPF personnel, in Bijapur's Maoist stronghold – the Jagargunda-Jonaguda-Tarrem belt – and killed 22 security jawans and injured 31.

Earlier, reports of Hidma calling the Bijapur Superintendent of Police, Kamlochan Kashyap. were being circulated on social media. Kashyap, however, denied receiving any such phone call from the Maoists.

When told about journalists getting calls from Maoists about the missing jawan being in their possession. Kashyap said, “Yes, the jawan could be living in detention under the Maoists. Security forces searched for him after the incident in a five-six kilometre periphery, but could not trace him.”

“Rescuing him is our priority. We are also trying to trace the phone calls,” SP Kashyap said.

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