Much like in today’s Brazil – where thousands of lower income group people are pushed out of the areas adjacent to the main venues to make the upcoming World Cup Football “trouble free” – the Kolkata Police forcefully pushed back thousands of people from the vicinity of Eden Gardens, while actor Shah Rukh Khan was leading a celebration inside the stadium following the victory of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday night. The police lathicharged and injured several people who tried to enter the stadium.
“I have valid pass but still I was not allowed to enter,” said Souryadeep Das, a first year student of Baguihati in north 24 Parganas district. Mr Das got the pass from his uncle who works in the police force to enter the stadium to witness the KKR team, Mr Khan and several other actors and singers but he could not enter the stadium. In fact,he also got beaten up, while trying to escape for no fault of his own. Major scuffle broke out between the police and public outside the 150 year old cricket stadium, as thousands with valid pass tried to enter the stadium like Mr Das.
The reason as described by a police officer is as chaotic. “Initially we allowed several thousand people to enter the stadium, as there was no clear instruction. Later, we were told to allow only those with free passes, by that time the stadium was half-full, so we had to restrict them and chaos broke out,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.
Mamata Banerjee, the State’s Chief Minister, announced on Monday that KKR will be felicitated in Eden Gardens on Tuesday. Almost without any preparation the State’s administration was forced to host a mammoth event. “Definitely we were not prepared for this even 24 hours back…as a result we could not handle the crowd properly,” the officer said.
However, the entertainment programme started around 3 p.m. with eminent singer Usha Uthup’s song – “Koi yahan, yahan nache nache,” meaning “let’s dance.” The injured youth, Mr Das, however, could not hear the song from even outside the stadium, as he had to rush for first-aid.