The Forum Against Repression in Telangana led by professor and human rights activist G Haragopal has appealed to Maoists to free commando Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who has been held hostage by them. Rakeshwar, a commando with the 210th CoBRA battalion, was captured by Maoists during a deadly ambush on April 2 in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma-Bijapur region. In the incident, 22 CRPF soldiers were killed. The forum in a statement issued on Wednesday said, “The Maoists should implement their statement and release him immediately and relieve his family members of anxiety. Similarly, we request the Union and state government to work towards peace.” On Tuesday, the Maoist Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee in a statement had said, “The state government should appoint an interlocutor, we will then hand over the jawan to them. Until then, the jawan will be safe in the custody of Jantana Sarkar.” An image of the captured commando was released on Wednesday. Reportedly, the image was shared through WhatsApp by Maoist leader Vikalp. Though the government has officially not appointed any mediator, tribal activist Soni Sori has left for the Bijapur region on Wednesday, in a bid to appeal for the release of Rakeshwar. In the deadliest Maoist attack in the last four years in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur, 22 soldiers from the CRPF’s CoBRA unit, District Reserve Guard, and a Special Task Force lost their lives in a five hour-long clash with Maoists. Meanwhile, alleging indifference by the government in ensuring the safe release of Rakeshwar, his family and hundreds of protesters staged a sit-in protest at Barnai Chowk in Jammu on Wednesday. “It’s been four days since my husband was abducted by Maoists but the government is doing nothing to ensure his release from captivity... If a jawan is late to report to duty by just one day after leave, action is taken against him, but here, he is missing since Saturday and nobody is bothered,” Rakeshwar’s wife, Meenu, was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.