CoBRA commando Manhas released by Maoists, family rejoices

CoBRA commando Manhas released by Maoists, family rejoices

RAIPUR: CRPF commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who was held captive by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh for over 100 hours after the April 3 gun battle, was released on Thursday evening, the CRPF said.

Manhas, a constable of the 210th CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), an elite wing of the CRPF, was safely handed over to the state police and to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

“Our CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas has reached our camp safely. He is being sent for medical examination,” CRPF’s IG, Operations, C.G. Arora told IANS. Manhas is physically fine, he added. In Jammu, family members of Manhas celebrated the news of his release.

Neighbours and family members reached his residence, raised slogans and celebrated the news of his release by distributing sweets. His wife said she had not slept since he was made captive by the Maoists.

“I want to thank the Prime Minister. I wasn’t able to sleep for the last six days,” said Meenu.

“I am very happy that he has been released… we just got the news,” said his brother Sahil.

The trooper had gone missing during the fierce gun battle with over 300 PLGAs ultras in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on April 3 in which 22 security personnel were killed and 31 were injured. Over 1,000 security personnel of the CRPF and Chhattisgarh’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force (STF) took part in the operation. The gun battle took place on Saturday noon near Tekulgudem village under Tarrem police station.

The Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the outlawed CPI-Maoist on Tuesday announced Manhas was “safe” in their custody and sought an interlocutor appointed to for his release.

As the Ministry of Home Affairs, in close coordination with the Chhattisgar government, was busy in scrutinising the names of likely interlocutors, the ultras released Manhas.