UPDATED: April 5, 2021 17:39 IST
The fate of 35-year-old constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas is unknown since he went missing from the Bijapur encounter site on Saturday.
Amidst a massive search operation by the security forces, alarm bells are ringing as reports emerge that the soldier has been held captive by CPI-Maoist cadres.
Sources in the security establishment admit that inputs have been received but no negotiation procedure has been initiated. According to sources, the Maoists have so far not made any demands for the return of Manhas, who hails from Jammu.
The lack of information about the whereabouts of the missing jawan is leading to apprehension that there may be a hostage crisis at hand. What is adding to their apprehension are unverified calls, which are being made to local journalists, claiming the jawan has been taken hostage by Naxals.
“The person who had called claimed to be Hidma, the notorious commander of Battalion number 1 of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), which carried out the bloodbath. The caller said the jawan was safe but being held hostage by Maoists,” said a local journalist, who received the call on Monday.
While cops have been tight-lipped about the current situation, sources said the hostage crisis may complicate the situation.
NAXALS DEMAND WIFE’S PLEADING VIDEO FOR RETURN OF JAWAN
Meanwhile, the CRPF sent officials to visit the family of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas in Jammu and assured them that the force is trying to ascertain the claims made by the Chhattisgarh-based journalist that the missing jawan is in the captivity of the Naxals.
CRPF officials and the wife of the missing jawan, Meenu Manhas, spoke to the TV journalist over the phone. He told the CRPF jawan’s wife that Rakeshwar Singh is in the captivity of Naxals. He asked his wife to send a video appealing to Naxals to release her husband.
Meenu Manhas has also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to ensure the safe return of her husband.
“As you brought Abhinandan (Varthaman) back from Pakistan, please bring back my husband too,” she urged the prime minister.
Twenty-two security personnel were killed and 31 others were injured in a gunfight that took place between Jonaguda and Tekalguda villages along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts on Saturday afternoon.