Days after the brutal massacre of Indian security personnel in the Naxal infested Forrests of Chhattisgarh, the Left-wing terrorists have finally admitted that they are keeping CRPF constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas as a hostage. As per a report in India Today, the terrorists have sent a letter to the security forces, acknowledging that they are holding Manhas captive.
Recently, the wife and family members of Manhas, a resident of Jammu, had appealed to PM Modi to bring the soldier back, like Wing Commander Abhinandan.
The Maoists have written in the letter that the CRPF constable is in their captivity and the government should appoint a negotiator to discuss his release. In the two-page letter, the terrorists have stated that Manhas will only be handed over to a government-appointed negotiator.
As per a report by Economic Times, CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh has ordered his team to appoint a mediator to negotiate Manhas’ release. Manhas belongs to the 210th battalion of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).
The two-page letter confirms the death of 4 Maoists. Singed by the spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC), the letter also states that the Maoists had seized 14 weapons, more than 2000 rounds of ammunition, and other items.
India Today has further reported that the Chhattisgarh police have confirmed the letter’s authenticity and the government is considering the proposal.
CRPF constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas has been missing since Saturday, when the Maoists had ambushed a contingent of CRPF and state police personnel deep in the forests of Sukma and Bijapur. 22 personnel had lost their lives and 31 were injured in the deadly clash. The Maoists had fled with a considerable number of weapons, ammunitions, gears and even shoes and bulletproof jackets of fallen security personnel.
Many believe that sine the Maoists have demanded negotiations, the CRPF jawan must be safe.
From a PLGA document i translated some years ago. Unless there has been a huge shift in the CPI(Maoist) ideology and tactics, #CRPF jawan Rakesh Singh Manhas is safe. #BijapurNaxalAttack pic.twitter.com/11pJdrziH3— Sandeep (@SandeepUnnithan) April 7, 2021
Some of the past kidnappings
The central and state governments negotiating with left-wing terrorists is nothing new. In 2017, Hidma, one of the commanders of the terrorist ‘battalion one’ of PLGA, had kidnapped a Canadian national named John Szlazak with the help of local villages in Sukma. Slazak was later freed after negotiations. In 2012, an IAS officer named Alex Paul Menon was kidnapped and later freed after 12 days.
Menon was the then collector of Sukma. Maoists had kidnapped him after killing two of his security personnel. Menon was freed after 12 days. Two persons named BD Sharma and Professor G Hargopal had acted as negotiators on behalf of the government.
In 2012, Maoists in Koraput, Odisha had kidnapped an MLA of the ruling BJD named Jhina Hikaka. Hikaka was abducted just 10 days after the Maoists had kidnapped two Italian nationals from Kandhamal district.
The Odisha government had not agreed to fully comply with the Maoists’ demand of freeing 29 prisoners kept in jails. After extending the deadline four times, The Maoists had finally held a ‘trial’ for Hikaka in a ‘Praja court’ and had set him free after he signed an undertaking that he would resign from the assembly and ‘work for the people’, after over a month of captivity.
A year prior to Hikaka’s abduction, Malkangiri collector R Vineel Krishna was kidnapped in the same area in 2011.