Stunned by the massacre of senior Chhattisgarh Congress leaders by Maoists last month, the Centre has decided to help all Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected States to raise ‘Greyhounds,’ after the Andhra Pradesh model of an elite police commando force.

It also planned to take a uniform approach under a national policy to deal with this growing menace.

However, it was decided that the Army and the Air Force would not be used in anti-Maoist operations.

At a special session on LWE at the Chief Ministers’ Conference on internal security here on Wednesday, these States agreed to adopt a joint strategy and intensify operations, which include cross-border raids.

The LWE-hit States will adopt the Andhra Pradesh model, which, besides Greyhounds, includes strengthening the intelligence-gathering mechanism, enhancing the role of local police stations in operations, and making efforts to infiltrate the Maoist hierarchy.

The States that would raise the ‘Greyhounds’ are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who chaired the session, assured all help in raising the force. He said Central paramilitary forces would actively participate in planning and execution of operations though the State police would play the lead role.

The Chief Ministers also discussed the issue of the Army and the Air Force assisting operations in view of the growing lethality and surprise element in the Maoist attacks. It was decided that the State forces, along with the paramilitary personnel, were enough to deal with the Maoists. The State governments would evolve a mechanism to carry out trade of ‘tendu’ leaves (used for making bidis), which is a major source of revenue in most of these States. At present, the ‘tendu’ leaves business is being run by contractors who face extortion by Naxals.