Two days after an operation in Chhattisgarh,where 19 alleged Maoists were gunned down,the CRPF on Sunday arrested 36 alleged Maoists from GK Veedhi in Andhra Pradesh.
Those arrested include six top Naxalite leaders,including a woman. They were arrested before they could launch a major strike against the security forces in the region,police sources said.
Security forces recovered weapons,a communication set and Rs 1 lakh from the arrested group.
When we arrested them they were about to launch a big operation against the establishment. Six of them are prize catch and one of them is a militia member with reward on his head, said P M Nair,IG (intelligence and operations),CRPF.
The senior Naxal leaders arrested have been identified as Pangni Mangu,Thambelu Devudu alias Lambayya Pedapadu,Thambelu Venkat Rao,Kotta Babu Rao alias Chanti,Pangi Bheema Raju alias Bheema and Vanthala Ramu.
Lambayya Pedapadu carries a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head. He had escaped after a police raid in 2009 near Mettuguda area in Andhra Pradesh.
The accused were arrested in a joint operation with the the state police on Sunday afternoon,the CRPF said.
When we raided the area,a meeting was going on and we apprehended all of them, said a senior CRPF officer.
Learning from the Bijapur incident two days ago,which has caught the CRPF on the wrong foot amid allegations of innocent villagers being killed,this time the operation was planned meticulously and there were strict instructions not to open any fire,officials said.
The security forces also recovered six rifles,one grenade,a bulletproof jacket,kitbags and a communication set from the arrested men.
We arrested them a few hours ago and it will definitely be a blow to the presence of the Naxalites in the region. A major attack has been thwarted. Of the 30 men,apart from the top Naxal leaders we have arrested,20 are listed criminals, said Nair.