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Maoists say missing CoBRA Commando in their custody, urge govt to appoint mediators for his release
Thirty-one jawans were injured while CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Minhas, belonging to its 210th battalion, went missing
The banned Communist Party of India (Maoists) on Tuesday issued a statement saying the missing CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Minhas was in its captivity and asked the state government to appoint interlocutors for his safe release. Saying in the statement that they have lost four of their members in the Bijapur encounter attack, the Maoists said they were compelled to retaliate to save their land, pride and lives. However, police are verifying the authenticity of the statement. On the other hand, the Chhattisgarh police has been claiming the number of casualties on Maoists’ side is much higher number.
“In Bijapur attack, 24 security personnel lost lives, 31 injured and 1 in our custody. 4 People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army personnel lost lives. Ready to negotiate with govt, they can announce mediators. Will release him. Police Jawans not our enemies,” the Communist Party of India (Maoist) said in the statement.
The statement from the Maoists came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Chhattisgarh in the aftermath of the deadly encounter. During his visit, the Union Home Minister said that those abandoning arms are welcome for talks but if they have arms in hands, the Centre can’t help.
A two-page statement reportedly issued by Dandakarnya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) of the CPI (Maoists) said the abducted jawan “will be safe in their custody” and would be handed over to the police after mediation.
Twenty-two personnel from various security forces like the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of the Central Reserve Police Force, its Bastariya battalion and those from the District Reserve Guard and STF of the Chattissgarh Police were killed in the ambush that took place along the Bijapur-Sukma border on Saturday.
Thirty-one jawans were injured while CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Minhas, belonging to its 210th battalion, went missing after the gunfight and was stated to be taken hostage by the Naxalites.
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Signed by the spokesperson of the DSZC, Vikalp, the statement said the government should declare the name of some “mediators for the release of the captured jawan”.