Staff Reporter

Mumbai: Following Thursday’s brutal naxalite attack, Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil has called for a joint operation involving the neighbouring States.

Sixteen police officers were ambushed in the naxal-dominated Gadchiroli district.

Speaking to The Hindu on the phone, Mr. Patil said the new operation envisaged bringing together the Home Ministers of neighbouring naxal-dominated States to counter the menace. It might include simultaneous combing operations.

Maharashtra had placed orders for night-vision binoculars and some other equipment. “We are waiting for delivery of arms.” The State would demand more number of Central battalions. Earlier, the Union government provided two battalions, which were later withdrawn.

Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pradhan told The Hindu that there were around 235 permanent naxal cadres in north and south Gadchiroli.

Hinting at a change in their strategy, he said that earlier the attacks were carried out by cadres in small numbers. However, now they came in large numbers, he said.