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Rebel tag denial

Jhargram, Jan. 5: The father of one of the two Maoists paraded on stage during Mamata Banerjee’s Midnapore rally today as rebels who had “surrendered” said police forcibly took the boy away two months ago from a playground in Jhargram.

“My son Raju is a Class X student. I went to several police stations in the area but was not allowed to see him. The news that my son has surrendered as a Maoist has stunned me,” said Rabi Hembram, an employee of the sericulture office in Jhargram.

Raju, 17, and another youth, Bhima Baske, were today identified in front of Mamata as Maoists who had surrendered with arms. The police said Raju was known as Kishore in Maoist circles.

Raju’s mother Heeramoni said he had no link with Maoists. “He is a student of Pranabananda High School at Pukuria in Jhargram. He used to live in a hostel adjacent to his school,” she said, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Heeramoni said she got worried when Raju did not come home on a Sunday two months ago. “My husband went to the hostel and came to know that Raju had been picked up by the police,” she said.