SRINAGAR: The lone CRPF commando who is reported missing in the deadly Naxal ambush is reported to be a Jammu resident, reports appearing in the Chandigarh based newspaper Tribune said. He has been identified as Rakeshwar Singh Minhas.
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“The security agencies are trying to confirm the claims made by the Naxals that they have abducted him,” the newspaper reported. It quoted a senior security official saying: “So far, we are not able to locate commando Rakeshwar Singh Minhas of the 210th CoBRA battalion. We do not have concrete evidence to substantiate the claim made by some Naxal elements that he has been taken away by them. Our teams are making all-out efforts to trace the missing commando.”
The encounter in Bastar region on April 3, one of the deadliest in recent days, was reported on Saturday afternoon. As many as 22 CRPF personnel were reported dead and 31 others survived injured. Out of the 22, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost eight personnel, including seven CoBRA commandos and one jawan from its Bastariya battalion, eight from the DRG and six from the Special Task Force.
Maoists have asked the state government to appoint interlocutors for the release of the soldier whom they have abducted. Constable Manhas belongs to the 210th CoBRA battalion, an elite unit of CRPF.
The encounter took place along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts and the Maoists claim they also lost four of their cadres in the gun battle including a female whose body they have been unable to retrieve.
The CPI (Maoist) has issued a two-page statement on the incident. “As many as 2,000 police personnel had reached near Jiragudem village to execute a major attack (on Saturday),” the Outlook quoted the statement saying. “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 has asked the government to announce names of interlocutors and the jawan will be released later. He will remain safe in our captivity till then, it said.
The statement has been issued by Vikalp, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) of Maoists, which had been instrumental in executing several deadly attacks in south Bastar, including the Jhiram valley attack in Bastar district on May 25, 2013, in which top Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh unit were killed.
(The feature photo is representational and lacks direct relevance to the report)