It was a tearjerker moment at missing CRPF soldier Rakeshwar Singh Manhas’s house when his 5-year-old daughter made an emotional appeal for her father’s release from Maoist captivity. “Papa ki pari Papa ko bohat miss kar rahi hai. Mai apnay Papa se bohat pyaar karti hun. Please Naxal unlce, mere Papa ko ghar bhej do (Papa’s fairy is missing her papa, I love my father very much, please Naxal uncle spare my father and send him home),” Manhas’s daughter, Raghvi, said as she made an impassioned appeal for her father’s safe return. Moments later, tears rolled down her face. Everyone present in the room, including her uncle, broke down.
Manhas is believed to have been abducted by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur where the CRPF personnel were ambushed and attacked on Saturday leading to death of 23 jawans.
Daughter of @crpfindia jawan Rakeshwar Singh Manhas is all tears and praying for the safe return of her father. Manhas a CRPF Jawan hailing from Jammu is believed to be abducted by Naxals in the Chhattisgarh. 22 CRPF jawan were martyred in the attack. pic.twitter.com/AqzZXmnSNT— Tejinder Singh Sodhi 🇮🇳 (@TejinderSsodhi) April 5, 2021
Not just Manhas’s daughter, his 7-year-old nephew Akash has been inquiring about his uncle’s whereabouts. “Uncle, you are in media, you must be knowing where my uncle is,” he asked reporters coming to their house.
Manhas’s house is filled with relatives who have arrived from far off places to be with the family in this moment of grief and anxiety after report of his abduction surfaced. He was scheduled to return home on April 15 to attend a family wedding.
“Five days ago, I spoke to my husband over phone. He told me that he was going for an operation and would call me after his return. When I heard the news about the ambush on the television, I got scared and called him called frantically on his number. But there was no response,” Meenu Manhas, wife of the missing soldier told CNN News18.
After not getting any response on her husband’s mobile number, Meenu dialed the number of one of his colleagues, who informed her that her husband had been missing from the day the ambush took place. She said the family received another shock on Monday afternoon when she received a call from an unknown person who claimed to be a local reporter from Bijapur. The person asked her to record a video appeal for Maoists to release her husband.
“That person told me that my husband was abducted by the Maoists and that I should record a video message… an appeal for the Maoists to leave my husband. I did send him the appeal, but I am surprised how someone sitting in Bijapur got my number. This needs to be investigated,” she said.
Meenu is hopeful that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah would ensure the safe return of her husband. “Prime Minister ensured the safe return of wing commander Abhinandan from Pakistan and I am hopeful that he would ensure that my husband, too, returns safely to us,” Meenu said, adding that her daughter does not fully understand what has actually happened and has been continuously crying for her father.
“Though its difficult for her to understand what has happened, but as people visit our home and cry, she too has been crying continuously and requesting everyone to help get her father back,” Meenu said.
Manhas’s 75-year-old mother, Kunti Devi, is hopeful that the government will hold negotiations with the Maoists and get her son released.
“My husband too was in the CRPF and sacrificed his life for the nation. My son was inspired by his father to join the CRPF. We are hopeful that the government will not leave any stone unturned to get my son back,” she said.
Meanwhile, the CRPF has assured the safe return of their men and the union government will not leave any stone unturned to ensure the safe return of the missing men.
“I have come here to assure the family that in this time, the entire CRPF and the Union Government stands with this family, we have lost of our brave men in this operation but we want to ensure the family that we will get their son back”, PC Gupta commandant from the CRPF headquarters Jammu told CNN News18.