Four of them hail from Tamil Nadu
Team acted on tip-off from students
THENI/CHENNAI: A special team comprising Special Task Force and police personnel arrested five suspected Maoists after a 45-minute gun battle on Varusanadu Hills in Theni district on Wednesday.
Three extremists and some police personnel were injured in the operation. Police sources said the team seized weapons from them.
The arrested were Mahalingam of Tirupattur in Vellore district, Marudhu alias Lenin of Manamadurai, Muruganandham of Vriddachalam, Sachin alias Yogesh of Chhattisgarh and Maran alias Balamurugan of Sellur in Madurai district. Mahalingam, Marudhu and Muruganandham, who received bullet injuries, were admitted to the Theni Government Medical College Hospital at Andipatti for treatment.
The Inspector-General of Police (South zone), Sanjeev Kumar and Deputy Inspector-General of Police R. Krishnamoorthy and Superintendent of Police (STF) Pon. Manickavel came to the hospital and conducted an inquiry.
Superintendent of Police R. Sudhakar said the gang led by Mahalingam had opened fire on the police and the STF team retaliated quickly. "Within 45 minutes, we surrounded them," he said. Acting on a tip-off from school students, the team had been camping on Varusanadu Hills for the past one week and intensified search operation. Mr. Manickavel said the team had done its job.
Once again, the information provided by the public prompted the police to look out for naxalites. Director-General of Police P. Rajendran said that nearly 10 days ago, the public had informed the police about the movements of some persons who were carrying arms and distributing pamphlets. Suspecting something serious, the police launched a hunt in Varusanadu Hill areas in Theni district. In June this year, following information from the public, the police arrested three persons when they were attempting to start a naxalite training camp in Murugan Malai near Periyakulam.
Mr. Rajendran said only during the interrogation of the five would details regarding their place of stay and duration and their contacts would be known. The police might move court seeking police custody of the arrested persons. He said the Tamil Nadu 'Q' branch was in constant touch with the unit concerned in the neighbouring States and shared information as part of the anti-naxalite operations.
He said Nondi Palani alias Mahalingam was wanted in connection with a case of double murder in the Koodapattu police station limits in Vellore district in 1978 and had been absconding for the past 29 years. Arms, ammunition and explosive material were seized from the arrested persons.