Exploring all channels to trace jawan: Chhattisgarh Police

RAIPUR: Police are exploring all channels, including contacting local villagers, to trace the missing CoBRA commando whom the Maoists claim to have abducted after an encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region three days back, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Police informers have also been activated to gather information about the missing jawan, he said.

Constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, of the 210th battalion of CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), an elite unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), went missing on Saturday after the gunfight along the border of Sukma and Bijapur districts.

Twenty-two security personnel were killed and 31 others were injured in the fierce gun-battle.

A journalist from Sukma on Monday said he had got a call from Maoists, claiming that the commando is in their captivity and he will not be harmed.

“As of now we cannot confirm that the missing jawan is in the captivity of Naxals as they haven’t issued any statementor photographs in this connection.

We are trying to trace him through all possible channels,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.

The police are also contacting local villagers to check if they have any information related to the missing jawan, he said.

Another senior police official posted in Bastar said there is a strong possibility of the jawan being in the captivity of Naxals, because the forces cordoned off the entire encounter site and area around it in the last two days, but could not find him.

The CoBRA jawan was part of a squad that had gone for an anti-Naxal operation on Friday night in the forests of Bijapur and Sukma border.

On Saturday, the gunfight broke between Tekalguda and Jonaguda villages in which 22 troopers were killed and 31 others injured.

Out of the 22 fatalities, the CRPF lost eight men, including seven CoBRA commandos and a jawan from its Bastariya battalion, while eight of the other deceased were from the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and six from the Special Task Force (STF).

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday visited Jagdalpur and Bijapur to review the situation and said the government will intensify its ongoing fight against the Naxal menace.