The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Wednesday opposed the idea of using air force to fight Maoists and said it did not comprehend the idea of “limited mandate” being given to Home Minister P. Chidambaram in dealing with the problem.

“What more mandate you (Mr. Chidambaram) want? I do not understand what he means by limited mandate. All the police, para-military forces are with you. You are carrying out operations,” CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan told PTI here.

“Once you start using air power, that is the thin end of the edge,” Mr. Bardhan said, adding, air power was used only in worst cases.

He said after air force proved inadequate to deal with the Maoists, the government would fall back on the Army and in that case the country would plunge into a civil war.

“Will you land this country in a civil war? Make the army to fight our own people? After all, we have not decided that Maoists are foreigners or terrorists from abroad,” he said last night emphasising that Maoists were not indulging in cross-border terrorism.

Lashing out at the Maoists, Mr. Bardhan said they were giving a strong alibi to the government to indulge in repression against common people in the name of fighting ultras.

“The violence is not the way they can achieve their goals. I am sure about it,” he said.

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