Days after Bijapur ambush, Maoists set CRPF commando free
A commando of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)’s CoBRA unit taken captive by Maoists in Chhattisgarh after the April 3 gunfight was released on Thursday.
Commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas was released deep in the jungle and was brought to the Terrem camp.
“At around 4.30pm the abducted jawan Rakeshwar Singh Manhas returned safely to the Terrem police station along with the facilitators who went inside the jungle to trace his location. He has now been admitted to the Basaguda field hospital for medical examination,” inspector general of police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P said.
Some reporters accompanied the facilitators, including representatives of social groups, and recorded a video of his release. Visuals showed armed Maoists with their faces covered freeing the jawan tied with ropes.
“The facilitators include Padmashree awardee Dharampal Saini from Mata Rukhmani Ashram Jagdalpur and Telam Boraiyya, senior leader of the tribal community in Bijapur. In the effort to release the jawan, local journalists Ganesh Mishra and Mukesh Chandrakar also played an important role,” the IG said.
The Maoists earlier released a photograph of the 35-year-old which showed him sitting alone in what appeared to be a hut. Manhas is a commando with the 210th CoBRA battalion.
His family in Jammu had appealed to the Centre to ensure he is released unharmed. He is the family’s sole breadwinner and has a five-year-old daughter.
After he was released, his wife Meenu expressed her gratitude to the government and said, “Today is the happiest day of my life. I always remained hopeful of his return. I thank the government.” Twenty-two soldiers from the CRPF’s CoBRA unit, District Reserve Guard, and the Special Task Force lost their lives in a five-hour-long clash with Maoists on April 3