Using air power against Maoists not a matter of public debate: Yechury

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tuesday said using air power during the anti-Maoist operations was not a matter of public debate and it was the government’s duty to ensure the safety of civilians.

“These are not matters for public discourse. Governments are mandated to uphold the Constitution and those who are in power are under its oath,” CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters when asked whether the party supported use of air power against the Maoists.

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“The constitution guarantees the right to life and liberty. So the governments will have to take the call and take necessary steps,” Yechury said, hours after Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the government was open to examining the need for air surveillance in its anti-Maoist operations.

He also criticised the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s anti-Maoist policies, saying that Monday’s strike in Chhattisgarh happened despite the government’s assurances that it was moving in the right direction in dealing with Maoist insurgency.

On Monday, Maoist guerrillas massacred 31 civilians and special police officers by blowing up a bus in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

“The government should immediately make all efforts to safeguard innocent lives and re-establish the rule of civic administration in these areas,” Yechury said.