A picture of the abducted commando of the Central Reserve Police Force released by the Maoists is being circulated on social media.
In the picture released by the Maoists, the COBRA force jawan, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas is seen sitting on a mat under a temporary shelter.
This comes a day after the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) of the banned organisation issued a press note in which the Maoists on Tuesday had expressed their willingness for negotiation and sought that a mediator be appointed by the government to secure the jawan's release.
“In the Bijapur attack, 24 security personnel lost their lives and 31 of them were injured. One jawan is in our custody. Four People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army personnel lost their lives. We are ready to negotiate with the government. They can announce mediators. We will release him (captive jawan). Police jawans are not our enemies,” read the letter issued by Vikalp, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) of Maoists.
The notorious outfit had been instrumental in executing several deadly attacks in south Bastar, including the Jhiram valley attack on May 25, 2013, in which top Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh unit were killed.
Maoists admitted that four cadres were killed in the gunfight and the body of the slain woman cadre could not be retrieved from the spot. The body of a woman Naxal was recovered by security forces from the spot.
"The authenticity of the statement issued by Maoists claiming that they have held hostage the jawan is being verified. Further action will be taken accordingly," Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.
According to local journalists, two of them had received calls on Monday from a mystery person who claimed a CRPF commando was in the captivity of Maoists. One of them told the media that the mysterious caller was Hidma, the notorious battalion commander of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA).
On Saturday, a more than 700-member strong team of Maoists had ambushed a security team in the remote Tarrem area, killing 22 personnel in one of the worst attacks linked to Left-wing extremism. The attack was suspected to have been led by notorious Maoist commander Madvi Hidma.
According to police authorities, Hidma’s battalion operates in districts of South Bastar, Bijapur, Sukma and Dantewada, the epicentre of clashes between the Maoists and security forces. He carries a reward of Rs 45 lakh on his head from the government.
According to police sources, right now the priority is to get the commando back safely.
Home Minister Amit Shah has already said that, “"I want to assure the country that this fight will not be stopped, rather it will continue with more intensity till the end. In this fight, our victory is definite in the end,” he added that government of India understands all their (jawans) problems and is firmly standing with them in this fight. "We will address all the loopholes as early as possible," he said.