Days after being captured in the deadly encounter at the Sukma-Bijapur border, the CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas has been released by Maoists on Thursday evening. The jawan was released by Maoists in the presence of hundreds of villages and the two-member team constituted by the government to oversee his release. Negotiating the release of the captured jawan, an 11-member team had arrived in the Bastar region earlier in the day. The released CoBRA commando has reached the CRPF camp in Bijapur and is being taken for medical examination.
Delighted at the CoBRA jawan's release, his wife said, "I never lost hope. I was patient that he would return home. Since the day I got to know that he was in Maoists custody, I knew that he would return home. I was confident that the government would take steps to ensure his return."
Jammu: Family of CRPF jawan Rakeshwar Singh Manhas celebrates after he was released by Naxals— ANI (@ANI) April 8, 2021
"I have received official communication of his safe return. His health condition is good," says Meenu, the wife of CRPF jawan Rakeshwar Singh Manhas pic.twitter.com/nI4hOCmv3U
Nearly a day after the deadly encounter in Chhatisgarh, the Maoists had released a picture of the captured CoBRA commando and invited negotiations for his release. In a two-page letter released by the Maoists' Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, they claimed that over 2000 policemen had attacked to eradicate Maoists following which there was a counter-response. In addition, they also claimed that only four Maoists were killed whereas the Bastar Range IG had affirmed that 12 Maoists were killed in the encounter, as per their technical input. The Maoists had demanded that the state government should announce a mediator for the release of the lone jawan captured in the encounter.
As per sources, security forces while hunting for Maoist commander Hidma were ambushed on Saturday, following which an encounter broke out. The security forces were met with nearly 400 Maoists that opened fire upon the jawans. As per officials, 22 jawans have been martyred in the encounter. The security forces consisting of DRG, CRPF, STF and Cobra commandos were deployed in an anti-Maoist operation on April 2. 760 personnel from Tarrem, 200 from Usur, 195 from Pamed, 483 from Sukma's Minpa and 420 personnel from Narsapur were involved in the anti-terror operation.
According to the initial reports, the encounter lasted for over 3 hours and severe damage was inflicted on the Maoists as well. The deadly encounter witnessed 22 jawans attain martyrdom while over 30 jawans sustained injuries.