Chhattisgarh: Maoists seek negotiations to release commando | Raipur News – Times of India

RAIPUR: Missing CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas’s fate is still uncertain even as Bastar activists spoke up for his release on Tuesday and Maoists, who claim to have him in captivity, asked that mediators be named for negotiations.
CPI(Maoist) Dandakaranya special zonal committee spokesman Vikalp issued a statement on Tuesday to say that Manhas was “captured” during the April 3 encounter in Tekulguda and that he would “remain safe in their custody as a prisoner”. “The government must first announce names of mediators. Then, we will hand him over to police,” the release said.
The commando’s wife, Meenu, has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah to bring him home, just as they brought Wing Commander Abhinandan back from Pakistani captivity.
On Tuesday, activists in Bastar lent their voice to the call for his release. Soni Sori and Sujeet Sharma of Jail Bandi Rihayi Samiti appealed to Maoists to free Manhas at the earliest.
“We have always been against violence, be it from any side, because lives are lost on both sides. On the basis of humanity, we appeal to Maoists to release the CoBRA personnel safely. We can’t even imagine what his family is going through,” a statement issue by the committee said.
“In case there’s a delay in the release of the jawan, a small team of the committee will head for the spot of incident in Tekulguda. Without discussing anything other than the release of the jawan, we will put out demand before the representatives of Maoists and initiate talks,” it added.
The Maoists’ statement was preceded by a phone call to a journalist, this time in Bijapur, to reiterate the claim that they have Manhas in captivity. “He is wounded, but healthy,” the caller told the scribe, adding that he would be released soon, but “police shouldn’t conspire”. On Monday, alleged Maoists had called a journalist in Sukma to say they had Manhas and wouldn’t harm him.
A CRPF officer said there is a high possibility that the Maoists indeed have Manhas. The force is trying to identify his location and free him with the help of locals, he added.
DIG (anti-Naxalite operations) O P Pal said all efforts are being made to trace the commando and bring him back safely. Police are trying to verify the two calls made by alleged Maoists to journalists.
In most such cases, Maoists release the security personnel, demanding that he quit the forces and never return to battlefield nor encourage his children to join forces, an officer said.

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