The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Captured: rebel brutality
- Pictures with police show man beheaded by Maoists

Midnapore, Dec. 20: Police have produced in court photographs purportedly showing a Maoist leader escorting a man through a forest and then, the latter's headless body lying on the ground.

The alleged rebel in the photograph, seen walking ahead of the lean, middle-aged man bound by ropes, has been identified as Santosh Debnath, who was arrested from Belpahari in West Midnapore on May 23.

In another picture, also with the police, CPI (Maoist) pol-itburo member Sushil Roy and the outfit's central committee member, Patit Paban Haldar, are seen meeting the CPI (Maoist) leader from Andhra Pradesh, Varvara Rao.

Roy and Haldar, too, were held in Belpahari, 180 km from Calcutta, in May.

Roy is seen dressed in army fatigues and brandishing a rifle in yet another photograph, one of 20 submitted before the Jhargram additional sessions judge.

Debnath, Roy and Haldar, who have been charged with waging war against the state, are being tried in the court in Jhargram, 170 km from Calcutta. The police filed the charge-sheet in August and the hearing began on Saturday.

After their arrest, a joint investigation team of the police and the CID raided Roy's rented house in Hind Motor in Hooghly and several other places in the district and seized the photographs.

'We also seized a computer that was used by Sushil Roy, besides compact discs and CD players. In the CDs, we found video recordings of meetings and training camps held by the Maoists,' an officer said.

'In some CDs, there were formulas and diagrams for making explosives, maps and plans. We also found pictures showing a house, apparently of a landlord, being set on fire and elated guerrillas,' the police officer said.

The police have, however, not been able to pinpoint exact locations. 'From the look of the forests, it seems they are in Jharkhand or areas in Bengal bordering that state ' West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. But we have yet to confirm it,' an officer said.

Public prosecutor Sasanka Ghosh said the photographs seized would strengthen the case. 'We suppose the pictures were used to terrorise landlords and other affluent people in Maoist-dominated areas. They were also probably used to impress youths and woo them into their fold ,' Ghosh said.

The lawyer for the rebels, Tapan Sinha, said the photos were doctored. 'We will demand their examination by experts,' he added.

The district administration has made elaborate arrangements for the trial, deploying over 50 jawans of the special combat force and the state armed police in the court.

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