Raipur: The 35-year-old CoBRA battalion jawan, who went missing after the Bastar ambush, is in the custody of Naxalites, it is claimed. Two Bijapur-based journalists received a call from an unknown number with the caller claiming that the jawan, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, was in their custody and that they will release him in two to three days. The call could not be authenticated.
The Maoists have so far not made any demands for the return of Manhas; nor have any negotiations been initiated. The lack of information about his whereabouts has reinforced the notion that this might be an evolving hostage situation.
Meanwhile, a video has surfaced of the jawan's daughter.
The little girl is heard saying in the video, 'Mere Papa ko Chod do (release my father).' Wife Meenu has also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to ensure the safe return of her husband. "As you brought Abhinandan (Varthaman) back from Pakistan, please bring back my husband too," she urged the prime minister.
Manhas happens to be a resident of Jammu Kashmir. The abducted jawan is believed to be a captive of Madvi Hidma, the commander of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion number 1, the outfit behind the latest massacre. Bijapur Superintendent of Police Kamlochan Kashyap, while speaking to media, did not rule out the possibility of the jawan being in the custody of Naxalites. “Yes, the jawan might be in their captivity as security forces had searched for him after the incident in a five-six km radius but could not trace him.”
The efforts were continuing, he added.