Constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas of the 210th Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), who was abducted by Naxals after the Bijapur ambush in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, was released on Thursday, said the Chhattisgarh police. The CoBRA commando was freed after a team of two eminent people, including a person from the tribal community, was nominated by the state government to secure his release. The jawan, who hails from Jammu, is being brought to the Tarrem camp of the Central Reserve Police Force located in Bijapur, said a senior officer of the paramilitary.
Manhas was safely handed over to the state police and to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). COBRA is the elite wing of CRPF. "Our CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas has reached our camp safely. He is being sent for medical examination," CRPF's IG, Operations, CG Arora, told IANS.
Twenty-two security personnel were killed while 31 others were injured in the deadly ambush that took place on April 3 along the Bijapur-Sukma district border. 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. It was considered one of the deadliest attacks in the last four years in Chhattisgarh.
A few days after his abduction, on Wednesday, an image of the CoBRA commando was shared through WhatsApp reportedly by Maoist leader Vikalp. Prior to that, on Tuesday, the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the outlawed CPI-Maoist had claimed that the CRPF jawan was in their custody and that he was safe. In a press statement, they said they will release him after the government deputes a team to negotiate the release.
(With input from IANS)