Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a high level meeting to review the government's strategy to tackle the Red menace, a day after the Naxals blew up a private bus near Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, killing at least 36 people.
Of the dead, 24 were civilians and 12 special police officers. It is feared the number of dead will go up.
Monday's attack took place near Chingawaran on Sukma Road in Dantewada, about 550 km south of Raipur. This is an area dominated by Maoists and they have demonstrated this many times in the past.
This is the first time Maoists attacked a private bus. Official sources said some of the SPOs might have alerted the Maoists by sitting on top of the bus in their trademark khaki uniforms.
The sources said the rebels might have accessed information about many SPOs having boarded the bus along the route, assumed to be heavily mined by the extremists.
The last big attack in Dantewada was on April 6 when Maoists trapped and gunned down 75 Central Reserve Police Force men and a policeman.