Three Naxalites, including two minors, were held after an exchange of fire between security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, police said on Sunday.
A 15-year-old girl was among the two minors taken into custody, officials said.
The clash took place on Saturday evening in a forest near Tetam village in Katekalyan police station limits when a joint team of security forces was on an anti-Naxalite operation, Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava said.
A joint squad of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and local police launched the operation based on a specific input that senior Naxalites had convened a meeting of people from Tetam, Tela, Jiakorta and other villages in a bid to force them to observe the Martyrs Week, he said.
Naxalites are observing the 'Martyrs Week' from July 28 to August 3 in memory of their slain leaders.
When the patrolling team was near Tetam, located around 400 km from Raipur, Naxalites triggered IED (improvised explosive devise) blasts and opened fire on security forces that led to the gun battle, Pallava said.
On finding that the security personnel were zeroing-in on them, the rebels escaped into the dense forest, he said.
Three Naxalites, including a 15-year-old girl and a boy aged 16, were detained from the spot.
Later, Hidma Madvi (23), who was active as a jan militia member, was arrested, he said, adding detonators, Maoist banners, fire crackers, medicines and items of daily use were also seized from the spot.
The detained girl was part of the Chetna Natya Mandli (cultural wing of Maoists) while the boy was active as a militia member, he said.
"All the three were allegedly tasked with arranging commodities of daily use for senior cadres, spreading Maoist propaganda, damaging roads and conducting reconnaissance on police," Pallava said.