For the first time since the encounter on Saturday in which 22 jawans were killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, the ultras on Tuesday confirmed that missing CoBRA Commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas is in their captivity.

Rakeshwar Singh Manhas went missing after the April 3 ambush in Bastar region. The outfit have asked the state government to remove its forces from the area and to appoint interlocutors for his release.

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

The two-pages statement written in Telugu was issued in the name of Vikalp, spokesperson of the Maoists, which had been instrumental in executing several deadly attack in south Bastar, including the Jhiram valley attack in Bastar district on May 25, 2013, in which top Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh unit were killed.

Meanwhile, a senior police officer said the authenticity of the statement is being verified.
Police have been continuously carrying out searches to trace Manhas, and local villagers, social organisations, local public representatives and journalists are also being contacted to locate his whereabouts.

Recently, Rakeshwar Singh’s daughter released a video requesting the Maoists to hand over her father safely to the authorities. However, The statement by the Maoists says that if the state government cooperates, they will release the jawan in two days.

“The country will never forget the bravery and sacrifice of the jawans. The whole country stands behind the bereaved families. We are determined to take the ongoing fight against the unrest created by the Naxals to it logical conclusion,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in a statement.

The Home Minister on Sunday vowed to give a befitting response to the Naxals and said that the battle against the extremists will be won through joint efforts by the Central and State governments.

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