Five Maoists, 40 supporters arrested in Maharashtra (Lead)

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:22 am ICT by admin  

Nagpur (Maharashtra), May 22 (IANS) Five Maoist rebels and 40 supporters were arrested Thursday and 10 country-made rifles seized from them in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, a police official said. The arrests were made during intensive search operations in Kosmi village in the Gyara Patti area of the district near the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border, the police’s public relations officer Trupti Deshmukh told IANS.

The combing operations were stepped up after nearly 300 rebels Sunday attacked a police constable’s house in Hiranje village and looted food grains, she said.

The five arrested guerrillas belonged to the Tipagarh dalam (unit), and their supporters were members of gram raksha (village defence) and atma raksha (self defence) units, she added.

A gun battle also took place between the police and Maoists hiding in a nearby area. The Maoists were encircled by eight police squads on the basis of intelligence gathered from the arrested rebels, Deshmukh said.

“After the exchange of fire that lasted fifteen minutes, the Maoists fled into jungle along a path on which they had planted three clamour mines, two of which exploded during the chase by the police,” she said.

While many rebels have surrendered to the police in the past year or have been killed in gun battles in Maharashtra, this is after a long time that hardcore Maoists have been apprehended during search operations.

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