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Chhattisgarh: Daughter of missing CoBRA commando makes emotional appeal

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The five-year-old daughter of a CoBRA commando, who has been reportedly held hostage by the Naxals in Chhattisgarh after an ambush on Saturday, has made an emotional appeal for the release of her father.

In a video released by the soldier’s family, the girl could be seen pleading for the release of her father, Rakeshwar Singh Minhas. The girl, while wiping tears, pleaded, “Please, release my father.”

Notably, the commando’s family has not heard about him after the ambush that resulted in the death of 22 security personnel in a fierce gun battle that continued for over four hours.

Family clueless

The commando’s wife Meenu told the media, “We came to know about the attack and that he went missing during action from news channels. Nobody from the government or the CRPF informed us about the incident.”

Meenu said they contacted the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) headquarters in Jammu. “I was told there is nothing they can share with me. They said that once they get a clear picture, they will come to me,” Meenu added.

“My husband served the country for the last 10 years and now it is the turn of the government to ensure that he returns to us safely,” said the woman, surrounded by relatives who came to her house to support the family through the ordeal.

Meenu said she has requested Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to take up the matter with the Centre and ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union home minister Amit Shah for her husband’s safe return from Chhattisgarh.

The commando may have been kidnapped by Maoists, top police officers said on Monday.

P Sundarraj, inspector general of Bastar, said, “A search party has been looking for the missing soldier. We got to know via social media that he has been abducted by Naxals. There is a possibility that it is true, we will verify the information and take necessary action to get him back safely.”

The incident

In an unfortunate incident, 22 security personnel were killed and 32 got injured in a four-hour-long encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Jonaguda village on April 3. One of the jawans is still missing.

Security forces with a strength of over 2,000 security personnel had on Friday night launched a massive anti-Naxal operation from Bijapur and Sukma in South Bastar forests that are considered Maoist stronghold.

Notably, jawans from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit CoBRA, the Special Task Force (STF) and the District Reserve Guard were part of the operation. The operation was launched from five places—Tarrem, Pamed and Usoor in Bijapur and Minpa and Narsapuram in Sukma.

Sources said that when the patrolling team dispatched from Tarrem was moving through a forest near Jonaguda, it was ambushed by the Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) cadres resulting in an intense gun battle.

The ambush was similar to the one executed by Naxals in Tadmetla in 2010 and Minapa in 2020. The Maoists PLGA Battalion was led by its commander Hidma. With a total strength of nearly 250, this group of Naxals was aided by insurgents associated with the Maoist platoons of Pamed, Konta, Jagargunda and Basaguda area committees.

 

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