In an apparent strategic political move today, the Maoists of the Communist Party of India have released the Cobra unit Jawan Rakesh Singh Mahhar from their captivity.
He was handed over to the social activist Dharma Pala Shaini and President of Gondwana Samaj Oriya in Terrem village amidst the presence of hundreds of villagers who later had been taken to the CRPF base camp in Bijapur. An 11-member team including 7 journalists have mediated with the Naxals for the release of the Jawan Rakesh Singh which had brought cheers to his family members who celebrated his release by distributing sweets among them.
Though the release of Rakesh Singh is a welcome gesture by Naxalites, who volunteered his release claiming that Rakesh little daughter’s appeal had moved them, but there is more to it than what meets the eye as political pundits see it as a strategic political move to escape from the wrath of the government.
It is said that much effort has been put in by the State and Central governments in holding deliberations with the Naxals as demanded by its south zone official representative Vikalp in a statement released 2 days after the infamous encounter in which 23 jawans killed and 30 others injured at Terrem village in Bijapur. The Maoists too have lost 4 of their comrades in the gunfight.
The government has taken the Naxals claim of holding Rakesh as their hostage not so serious initially and were continuing with their search operations for the missing Jawan until they released his photograph on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that the government was planning to flush out Naxals from the deep jungles of Chattisgarh on the lines of international military operation carried out in Sri Lanka in which the dreaded LTTE chief Prabhakaran and his entire team was wiped out. Though the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, did not hint anything to this effect, it was seen such a tone from his statement of ‘putting an end to this menace’.
Maoists have also alleged that the government had initiated ‘Operation Prahar-3’ to flush out Naxalites from the jungles of Chattisgarh. This believed to have caused panic among the Naxals who had held Cobra Jawan Rakesh Singh as their hostage. Knowing pretty well about the government’s plans, Maoists thought it might boomerang on them if they cause any harm or continue to hold him in their custody in order to trade with the government to hold deliberations. But for what?
Initially, they might have thought to hold Jawan as their shield to protect themselves from ‘Operation Prahar’ in case the government initiates. Since the government had a strategic delay in it, it became difficult for them to hold him for long as a hostage since it boomerangs on them if the protests or demand for his release spread to the other parts of the country as time pass by.
Secondly, if they cause harm to the hostage, the government will suppress them with an iron hand. So the better way is to step back when the enemy is very powerful. Indeed a true guerilla war tactic that worked to some extent at least though temporarily. Now the ball is in Centre’s court as to how it would end the menace.