Bhubaneswar: A day after releasing a statement claiming to have taken missing CRPF CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas as hostage, the Maoists on Wednesday released his photograph to prove he is indeed in their custody.

"Bhubaneswar: A day after releasing a statement claiming to have taken missing CRPF CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas as hostage, the Maoists on Wednesday released his photograph to prove he…"

In the photo, which OTV has accessed, the Jawan is seen sitting on a plastic mat under a makeshift hut made of palm leaves, possibly a naxal camp. It seems the photo was captured while the Jawan was in conversation with someone in the camp which is possibly located in a jungle.

Meanwhile, the family of the Jawan has urged the government to take action and ensure his safe release.

“If a Jawan reports to his duty a day after his leave ends then action is taken against him. Now that a Jawan is missing since April 3 and no action has been taken by government so far. We want the government to search for a mediator so that he is released,” Meenu, wife of Rakeshwar, told ANI.

The outlawed outfit on Tuesday claimed that Rakeshwar, who went missing after the April 3 ambush in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, is in their captivity. The ultras had asked the Chhattisgarh government to appoint interlocutors for his safe release.

The Maoists have, however, not raised any formal demands for the release of the commando.

The banned outfit also admitted that four of its cadres were killed in the encounter in which 22 security personnel had lost their lives.

Constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas of the 210th CoBRA battalion, an elite unit of CRPF, had gone missing after the gunfight along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts last Saturday.

The CPI (Maoist) statement also claimed that 24 security personnel were killed in the encounter.

“As many as 2,000 police personnel had reached near Jiragudem village to execute a major attack (on Saturday). To thwart them, PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) retaliated during which 24 security personnel were killed and 31 others injured. We have caught a policeman (CoBRA commando) at the spot while others escaped,” said a statement purportedly written by the Maoists and was circulated on social media on Tuesday.

It said the government should first announce names of interlocutors and the Jawan will be released later. “He will remain safe in our captivity till then,” it said.

The two-page statement was issued in the name of Vikalp, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) of the Maoists outfit which had been instrumental in executing several deadly attacks in south Bastar, including the Jhiram valley attack in Bastar district on May 25, 2013, in which top Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh unit were killed.

Maoists admitted that four cadres were killed in the Bijapur gunfight and the body of a slain woman cadre could not be retrieved from the spot.

The body of a woman Naxal was recovered by security forces from the encounter spot.

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