The West Bengal government has asked the police in the Lalgarh area to be alert to a backlash against the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (People’s Committee against Police Atrocities).

Landmine blasts have already rocked the area since the arrest on Saturday afternoon and the police have arrested six people.

Briefing reporters here, Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty said: “The police there are fully prepared and have been asked to stay alert against any repercussions.”

Asked whether the government considered the arrest a major success in its over three-month drive to flush out Maoists, Mr. Chakraborty said it was the duty of the police to make the arrest.

He said it was possible to press charges against Mr. Mahato under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and also under the Indian Penal Code.

Mr. Chakraborty, however, said he was yet to receive details of how exactly Mr. Mahato was arrested.

Some journalists present at the briefing expressed reservations about reports that the arrest was made by police personnel who posed as journalists. Such a modus operandi would jeopardise the lives of mediapersons on duty in Lalgarh, they told Mr. Chakraborty.

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