Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a CoBRA jawan who was kidnapped by Maoists on April 3 after a fight along the Bijapur-Sukma border, was released unconditionally Thursday evening to a group of journalists, local leaders, and social activists. For a primary medical check-up, he was taken to the CRPF Camp hospital in Basaguda.
On April 3, Manhas was part of a 450-strong squad that was ambushed while returning from an anti-Naxal campaign. The next day, after a search and rescue mission, he was found missing by the authorities. The attack claimed the lives of 22 security forces.
Manhas, 38, is now under quarantine and is unable to communicate with others. He, on the other hand, had talked with the journalists who were part of the 11-person team who went into the jungles to free him.
Manhas remembered receiving a shrapnel wound during the April 3 assault and fleeing to prevent getting into contact with the Naxals, until passing out from dehydration and intense stimuli. He was still in the Maoist camp when he opened his eyes, looking at the enemies he had come to fight. They said he would travel several kilometers and be carried from one camp to the next for the next five days before he was released in front of villagers and armed Naxal cadres.
“The jawan has returned to us,” Bijapur Superintendent of Police Kamalochan Kashyap said after his release. We’re having him checked out at the moment. We are grateful to the social activists and writers who assisted in his return.”
Bhupesh Baghel, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, thanked the journalists and social activists as well.
Rakeshwar Singh’s four-year-old daughter Raghvi’s only wish was for her father to return home to Jammu soon. At his home in Jammu’s Burnai neighborhood, there was a group. As the strained situation of the previous few days dissipated, family members, friends, and neighbors congratulated one another.
The Maoists demanded a list of interlocutors in a press statement issued on Tuesday. When the government was still debating, a group of seven journalists and four social activists arrived in the CoBRA jawan’s hometown on Wednesday afternoon.