Sukma District, April 6, 2021: The CPI (Maoist) released a statement on Tuesday that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commando who went missing after the April 3 encounter at Tarrem in Chattisgarh’s Sukma district was in their custody.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) also demanded that the State government announce a mediator for the release of the commando.
Chhattisgarh Director General of Police D.M Awasthi said that the letter issued by the Maoist party was authentic and the government would soon take a call on the mediator.
The commando, identified as Rakeshwar Singh Minhas, belonged to the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action unit (CoBRA) of the CRPF, a unit specially trained for operations in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas.
A senior government official said that a media person or a social activist could be considered as a mediator.
The statement signed by “Vikalp”, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist), said that four People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) cadres were killed in the encounter at Tarrem on April 3. It added that they had also taken away 14 weapons, over 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and other items belonging to the security personnel.
The PLGA cadres killed during the firefight were identified by the Maoists as Odi Sanni, Padam Lakhma, Kowasi Badru and Nupa Suresh, all residents of south Bastar. Sanni’s body was recovered by security forces on April 3.
The Maoists said that the men had died in the “courageous” counter attack. “We could not secure the body of Sunny. Final rites of the remaining three were held with revolutionary traditions,” they stated. The statement said that Madvi Sukkal, another villager, was also killed before the encounter.
The Maoists have named the condition that the officer would be set free if the government specifically announced the names of the mediators. “Till then he would be safe in the protection of Janatan sarkar,” a Telugu statement released in the name of CPI (Maoist) Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee official spokesperson Vikalp said.
The statement also said, “We are always ready for talks but the government had no integrity or conviction. Revolutionaries never gave up arms during the several previous talks held with governments. It is the government’s responsibility to creative atmosphere conducive for talks…Talks would materialise only if the government stopped deployment of forces, organising camps, attacks and restrictions. Policemen lost their lives in Kondagaon, Narayanapur and Bijapur since the government was carrying out attacks instead of holding talks. Government is responsible for this situation.”
Conveying condolences to the bereaved families of 22 policemen killed in the “counter attack”, the Maoists said the police were not their enemies. “We appeal to the police not to become scapegoats in the unjustified war brought about by the ruling classes,” the spokesperson said.
According to them, nearly 2,000 policemen “belonging to Modi and Amit Shah”, led by the Bastar Inspector General, had come to carry out attacks on villages in Sukma and Bijapur three days ago. The main objective of the “Samadhan-Prahar” operation was to decimate the PLGA, they said.
Close to 150 civilians and “our party workers and leaders” were killed in such attacks executed since November, 2020, the Maoists said. A similar offensive was organized by the police three days ago by deploying thousands of policemen, they said.
The seven-year rule of Narendra Modi, deepened economic crisis and deteriorated political situations had posed a serious threat to the lives and property of people, the Maoists said. Attacks on intellectuals and supporters of democracy were on the rise “by branding them Urban Naxals”. People were fighting against this suppression with the slogans of “Jal-Jungle-Jameen” and the Maoists would continue to support their struggle, the statement said.
Chhattisgarh Police had said in a statement on April 4 that teams had been dispatched to Tarrem as they wanted to corner PLGA chief Hidma, who was said to be in the area. Hidma heads the PLGA Battalion 1, one of the most lethally armed and trained units of Maoists active in southern Chattisgarh.