CRPF Verifying if ‘Missing’ COBRA Jawaan Is Abducted by Maoists

Two journalists from Bijapur received calls from Maoists on Monday that they have the jawaan in their captivity.

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Two journalists from Bijapur received calls from Maoists on Monday that they have the jawaan in their captivity. Image used for representational purposes.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) DGP, Kuldiep Singh on Tuesday, 6 April, confirmed to the media that one of their soldiers is still missing, since the Naxal encounter in Chattisgarh. The CRPF is verifying whether the solider is held captive by Naxals, he added, as per ANI.

COBRA battalion jawan, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir was reported missing in the aftermath of the encounter in Bijapur. There is a claim going around social media that he is being held as a hostage by the Maoists.

The CRPF DGP, Kuldiep Singh on 6 April told ANI that the threat email that they had received has been forwarded to the concerned agencies of Maharashtra and the Centre, and are waiting for their instructions.

What Happened?

At least 22 security personnel were killed and around 31 injured in a shoot-out with Naxals along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, 3 April – the worst such Naxal attack in four years.

Bodies of 17 security personnel have so far been recovered from Bijapur. Out of the total 22 fatalities, eight were from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), eight from the District Reserve Guard (DRG), and six from the Special Task Force (STF), PTI reported.

Twenty-three of the injured personnel were admitted to a Bijapur hospital, and the remaining were taken to a Raipur hospital, according to ANI. Out of the 31 injured personnel, 16 belong to the CRPF.

Maoists Allege Custody of Jawaan

Two journalists from Bijapur received calls from the Maoists on Monday, 5 April, regarding this.

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

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

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

He, however, was told about journalists getting calls from the Maoists about the missing jawaan being in their possession. Kashyap said, “Yes, the jawaan 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.

(With inputs from ANI)

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