Doubts are now being expressed whether the photo of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, the CRPF Jawan allegedly in the custody of the Maoists in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district is the latest one. Though the Maoists released this photograph on Wednesday to some media houses, Rakeshwar's close relatives say the photo is at least one year old.
Rakeshwar was abducted during the Maoist attack on the CRPF forces when the latter were on an operation in the Bijapur forests on April 2. On Wednesday, the Maoists released a photograph of Rakeshwar Singh claiming that he was in their custody. However, Rakeshwar's cousin Praveen says that he had seen the photograph on the former's mobile phone during his last visit home. He felt that the Maoists may have aready killed him and that releasing the photo was a mere ploy to dupe the government and the people.
The Maoists in a communication said that Rakeshwar was not hurt in their captivity. They released the image on Wednesday to several media journalists claiming that the jawan was safe. They also wanted the CRPF to announce mediators for his release.