Naxal women held after arms cache seized in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Jan 22 (UNI) Chhattisgarh Police today arrested three people, including two suspected female Maoists, in connection with a cache of crude weapons being seized here late yesterday night just days ahead of Republic Day.

Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar told UNI that the accused were Meera Choudhary (34), K S Priya alias Malti (39) and Prafulla Jha (60), a former journalist. ''Interrogation revealed that the women were staying at a working women's hostel and exchange of weapons took place at Jha's house. We have identified some other people involved in the case and seized Rs 5.11 lakh from the women,'' he added.

Meanwhile, police said that about ten people were 'detained' for questioning at Bhilai and Durg, from where police seized eight countrymade pistols.

Police swung into action following seizing of 91 crude pistols of .315 bore, 26 wireless sets, batteries, a toiletry kit and Hindi novel in seven travel bags found lying near Lakhe Nagar locality. A shopkeeper alerted police that a woman, who came in a car, left the bags near the shop.

Police were also verifying whether Priya is the wife of Gudsa Usendi, spokesman of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

However, senior police officers claimed that 'Gudsa Usendi' is an assumed name and four or five people were operating as 'spokesman'.

A high alert is being maintained in and around the state capital and security was beefed up at all important locations.

A bomb disposal squad and sniffer dogs were pressed into service suspecting possibility of explosives. It is suspected that the weapons and other equipment were meant for naxal activities that have spread to more than half of the state's 18 districts. There were reports about enhanced rebel movement in the state capital and surrounding districts.

UNI JJ AC BDP RK1835

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