Madurai, Dec 20: As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke of eliminating the Naxal "virus' today, four tiffin box-type mines and an equal number of country-made pistols and hand grenades, explosive chemicals and detonators were recovered from the five Maoists arrested during a police encounter.
The items seized from the Maoists including sulphur and pottassium chlorate chemicals were secured and deposited in a safe place, officials said, adding Naxalite literature and pamphlets distributed by them have already been recovered.
Top police officials visited the three Maoists, injured in an exchange of fire with police and convalescing in the Government Rajaji Hospital
here after surgery to remove the bullets from their bodies.
The condition of the injured, operated last night, was stated to be stable, police said.
Three Maoists and two policemen were injured in the exchange of fire at Pallathur in Varushanadu, near Theni, yesterday.The policemen were injured when the maoists resisted arrest, leading to an exchange of fire.
The five Maoists were moving around in villages in the area when they were challenged and arrested. Two of them were remanded to custody while three were hospitalised.
Talking to mediapersons, IG (South Zone) Sanjeev Kumar said they were able to arrest the Naxalites only because of the cooperation extended by the public in general.
Officials said the three had shouted pro-Maoist slogans even when the police brought them to the hospital, suggesting they were hardcore Naxalites.
Mahalingam (52) was injured in the the left shoulder while Maruthu alias Lenin Kumar's (27) left knee was pierced by the bullet. Murugananthan (25) suffered injuries in the stomach, officials said. Police officials said police came to know about the exact location of the Maoists through a farm worker grazing her cattle. She informed the people of Pudukottai, who, in turn informed the SP-CID. A police party, on reaching their hideout, asked the Maoists through the public address system to surrender.
But the Maoists, hiding in a sugarcane field at Pudukottai, near Varushnanadu, fired at the policemen, they said, adding police retaliated.
Police denied that it was an encounter, as alleged in a petition filed in the Madras High Court yesterday.
Two other Maoists, including Balamurugan (30) and Lokesh (31) of Chhattisgarh surrendered to the police.
Balamurugan and Lokesh were produced before the Andipatti magistrate and remanded to custody today.
Earlier, top police officials interrogated the extremists. Police said they had brought them to Madurai only because they felt that the Theni Government Hospital was not safe enough as it was a border district.
Police were confident that there were no more Maoist elements moving around in the hills bordering Kerala though search operations would continue in the area.
The Varushanadu area, a remote region bordering Kerala, witnessed a revival of Naxalite activity in recent months, leading to deployment of extra police contingents to contain their activities. (Agencies)