Jammu protests, seeks immediate release JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday expressed confidence that the abducted CoBRA commando held hostage by Naxals after a recent gun battle with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district would “return safely”.
Sinha said efforts are being made for the release of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas which cannot be made public.
“I want to tell you that the Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister (Bhupesh Baghel) are keeping an eye on the situation. Our sympathies are with the (abducted) jawan and we are convinced that he will return hale and hearty. The god will return him safely (to us),” the Lt Governor told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Kathua district.
Relatives of the CRPF jawan blocked the Jammu-Poonch highway here on Wednesday, demanding an assurance from the government for his safe release.
Thirty-one jawans were injured while CoBRA commando Minhas, belonging to its 210th battalion, went missing after the gunfight that took place along the Bijapur-Sukma border on Saturday and was stated to have been taken hostage.
Twenty-two personnel from various security forces like the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of the CRPF, its Bastariya battalion and those from the District Reserve Guard and STF of the Chhattisgarh Police were killed in the ambush.
“The efforts (for the release of the jawan) are not such that can be made public,” the Lt Governor said. Jammu protests, seeks immediate release: Hundreds of residents including family members of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who is in Maoists’ captivity in Chhattisgarh, blocked a road in Jammu demanding his release. 35-year old Manhas, who hails from Jammu, was among the security personnel that were ambushed by the Maoists during a combing operation on Saturday, leaving 22 personnel dead and 31 others injured.
“It’s been four days since my husband was abducted by the Maoists, but the government was doing nothing to ensure his release from captivity,” said Meenu, wife of Manhas, a member of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action, popularly known as the CoBRA force of the CRPF, specializing in counter-insurgency operations.
His father in law said, “For this day did we vote for this government? None has come to our rescue. He is our son in law and we want him back. How insensitive can the government be? It’s been four days since he was abducted by the Naxals on Saturday, but no one in the administration has bothered to reach out to us with an assurance”.
“His mother sent him to serve the nation. We are poor people, we don’t have to do anything with politics but if the government could bring back wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan, then why have they been dragging their feet in getting our boy released from the captivity of Maoists,” he asked.
The protestors in Jammu held tricolours and staged a sit-in at the main town Chowk while shouting slogans against the BJP-led Central government and also against Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
No one from the administration was present there to meet the protesters till the filing of this report. Naxals release picture of CRPF commando: Naxals have released the first picture of a jawan who went missing last week after a gunfight in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur. According to details available with National New Channel, the CRPF has also confirmed that the photo released by ultras is of the missing commando.
The missing commando has been identified as constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas of the 210th CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) battalion, an elite unit of CRPF. He went missing after the April 3 gunfight between Naxals and security personnel near Sukma-Bijapur border.
Earlier on Tuesday, Naxals released a statement wherein they have claimed that the missing CoBRA commando is in their custody. The two-page letter, penned by banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), stated that the outfit is willing to negotiate with the Centre. It has asked the government to appoint a mediator to negotiate for the release of Manhas.
“One jawan is in our custody. We are ready to negotiate with the government. They can announce mediators. We will release him (captive jawan). Police jawans are not our enemies,” the outfit said in the letter.