The Chhattisgarh Police supported by CRPF battalions on Thursday launched operations to engage 2,500 armed Maoist rebels and local militia in the jungles of Bastar even as perpetrators of the May 25 attack were believed to be moving towards Malkangiri in Odisha.
The ambush had left 27 people, including several Congressmen, dead.
About 5,000 state police personnel and five CRPF battalions (about 5,000 men) started combing the forests in Bastar - the notorious hideout of naxals - with 5.56mm INSAS rifles and communication gear.
Besides hunting for 150 armed Maoists, they will try to get the main accused of the May 25 attack: Vinod Sema, secretary of the CPI-ML's Darba committee, and Madkami Sema alias Surendra.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told HT he would visit Chhattisgarh on Friday to review anti-Naxal operations with the state government and paramilitary commanders as well as meet the survivors of the attack.
The Chhattisgarh Congress, meanwhile, boycotted the all-party meeting called by chief minister Raman Singh to discuss strategy to counter Maoist terror.
The anti-Maoist operations were launched after the Chhattisgarh Police submitted a plan in two days after home secretary Raj Kumar Singh and other senior home ministry officials visited the state.
According to state police sources, Singh wanted to launch the counter-Maoist operation immediately after his visit but postponed the plan after the police admitted to gaps in its penetration capabilities in the thickly-forested areas of Bastar.
As many as 32 CRPF battalions are on standby in the state.
While intelligence agencies are tracking the movement of various factions of Maoist rebels towards Odisha, the state police and paramilitary forces are likely to adopt the 'hammer-and-anvil strategy' to counter them.
This entails injecting at least four battalions of paramilitary forces into the jungle to establish a base, which is then fed through aerial support, while the state police surround the forest.
This is meant to trap armed Maoists and neutralise them.
Inputs from HTC, Raipur