The CoBRA commando who went missing after the April 3 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region is in the captivity of CPI (Maoist), the banned outfit has claimed. Notably, 22 security personnel were killed and one went missing in the incident, whereas the banned outfit claimed that four of its cadres died during the fierce gun battle that continued for over four hours.
It has asked the state government to appoint interlocutors for the release of the commando. However, no formal demands have been raised for the release of the commando.
Earlier, the five-year-old daughter of the missing commando, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, has made an emotional appeal for the release of her father.
Statement by Maoist
In a two-page statement issued in the name of Vikalp, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) of Maoists, the outfit claimed, “As many as 2,000 police personnel had reached near Jiragudem village to execute a major attack (on Saturday). To thwart them, PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) retaliated during which 24 security personnel were killed and 31 others injured. We have caught a policeman (CoBRA commando) at the spot while others escaped.”
The statement also asked the government to first announce the names of interlocutors and the jawan will be released later. It also assured that the jawan will remain safe in their captivity till then.
The ultras also claimed that they have seized 14 weapons, 2,000 cartridges and other materials from the encounter site and the pictures released along with the statement exhibit the looted arms and ammunition.
What Chhattisgarh police said
According to Sundarraj P, inspector general of police, (Bastar), the authenticity of the statement issued by Maoists claiming that they have held hostage the jawan is being verified. Further action will be taken accordingly, he added.
Police have been continuously carrying out searches to trace Manhas, and local villagers, social organisations, local public representatives and journalists are also being contacted to locate his whereabouts, the IG said.
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