Chaos at Eden mars felicitation
Television reports said yesterday that police resorted to 'lathicharge' to disperse the crowd, which resulted in minor injuries to fans outside the BC Roy Club House of the hallowed Eden Gardens during West Bengal government's civic reception to Kolkata Knight Riders, the new Indian Premier League champions, whose principal owner is Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
There have been incidents of stampedes and deaths at this iconic venue, but this was unique in nature. There were very few checks and balances for the fans, who entered the turf. The fact that the total turnout inside the stadium was more than 90,000 whereas the total capacity is around 65,000 proves the amount of pandemonium that gripped the Eden.
All-India Football Federation’s (AIFF) senior vice-president and a prominent member of the CAB, Subrata Dutta said: “I haven’t seen such a scene in my stint on the maidan. We should thank the almighty that there was no loss of lives.”
The mandarins of the maidan, who have organised even bigger occasions, including the Reliance Cup final (1987) and Hero Cup (1993) with ease, may differ on their opinions on whether this was the worst organsied function for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), but all agreed that CAB had no role in it after the state government took over the reigns.
“It’s not possible to organise an event of such magnitude in just two days. So I agree that was not a very sensible decision, but it’s not true that chaos never took place at the Eden Gardens in past,” Chitrak Mitra, vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told MiD DAY.
Former CAB Jt Secretary and erstwhile BCCI joint secretary Goutam Dasgupta felt that it was a one-off incident. “In last 30 years, I have never seen such chaos. The main reason for this was free entry and failure to estimate the turnout. People who couldn’t afford to see IPL matches because of its steep ticket prices turned up to see the players and Shah Rukh. CAB had absolutely no role in this,” said Dasgupta.