Sixteen Naxals, five of them suspected to be involved in a deadly attack on a CRPF team last year, were arrested from Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, police said Monday.
There were two women among the arrested ultras, they added.
The arrests were made Sunday from a hill near Minpa village under the Chintagufa police station limits by a joint team of the Special Task Force (STF), the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the district police, a senior police official told PTI.
In view of next month’s Assembly polls, the security forces have intensified the patrolling in the interior forests of the Naxal-hit districts to apprehend the lower-rung cadres, who are instrumental in planting explosives to target the police personnel and putting up Maoist posters and banners, he said.
Acting on an information about the presence of Naxals, the joint team launched an operation from the Burkapal camp towards Minpa and Tadmetla, located around 500 km from state capital Raipur, and apprehended the ultras, the police official added.
All the arrested cadres were active as members of either militia groups or the Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Majdoor Sangthan (DAKMS), a front organisation of Maoists, he said.
Of them, five — identified as Sodhi Ganga, Madvi Bhima, Banjam Nanda, Madvi Bhima and Muchaki Mukka — were allegedly involved in a deadly attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at Burkapal in Sukma district in April last year, he said.
Twenty-five CRPF personnel were killed in the attack.
Two of the arrested ultras have the same name. The others were allegedly involved in incidents of attacks on police teams and planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to target the security forces, the police official said.
Chhattisgarh, which has a 90-member Assembly, will go to the polls in two phases — on November 12 and 20.
In the first phase, 18 seats in the southern parts of the state, affected by left-wing extremism, will go to the polls, while in the second phase, voting will be held in 72 seats in the northern parts of the state.