The family of a CRPF soldier feared to have been abducted by Maoists after Saturday’s ambush that killed 22 troops in Chhattisgarh has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rescue the jawan like Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was brought back from Pakistan.
The alleged abduction of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a commando from the CoBRA battalion of the CRPF and a resident of Jammu, has plunged the family in grief and they are making frantic calls to the local CRPF headquarters for his release.
“If he is safe, get him back, no matter how or wherefrom. I appeal to Modiji to get him back the way Abhinandan was brought back from Pakistan. Get him also,” Manhas’s wife Meenu told reporters in Jammu on Monday evening.
The family also released a video where Shragvi, the five-year-old daughter of Manhas, 35, urges the Maoists to release her father. “Please release my father,” the girl pleads before she breaks down. Her relatives are seen wiping her tears.
Varthaman, an IAF fighter pilot, had been taken captive by Pakistan after his plane crashed during the Balakot strike but was later released.
Meenu said she had last spoken to her husband at 9.30pm on Friday. She said Manhas had told her that he was leaving for an operation. “He had told me he would return the next day,” she said.
Meenu said her husband had served the country for 10 years and participated in several counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir. “Now it is the government’s turn to fight for its jawan and get him back from the captivity of the Maoists,” she said.
Manhas was recruited to the CRPF in 2011.
A purported statement by Maoists on Tuesday said they had abducted a jawan during the gun battle with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district and asked for mediators to be nominated for his release, reports PTI. The statement is being looked into, a CRPF commander said.