A student recalls horrors of ‘Black Saturday’

November 25, 2023 11:56 pm | Updated November 26, 2023 01:17 am IST - KOCHI

Crowd, ambulance, and fire force personnel outside the open air auditorium at Cusat where four students were killed in a stampede ahead of a music show on Saturday.

Crowd, ambulance, and fire force personnel outside the open air auditorium at Cusat where four students were killed in a stampede ahead of a music show on Saturday. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

Sreeragh will be haunted by the scenes he witnessed on what turned out to be a ‘Black Saturday’ in his life.

The third year student of the School of Engineering was a helpless witness when the stampede killed four and injured scores, including two seriously.

He kept shaking his head as if to shake off the horrors of the evening as he narrated whatever he could recollect. To begin with, he had no clue about what was happening and by the time he did, it was all over. He remembered having scooped up a girl who was struggling to get up before being stomped to death. “Her face was literally covered with footmarks,” Sreeragh recalled from Kinder Hospital in the city.

He and his friends had stopped vehicles on their track to rush the injured to hospital, while they themselves took the less injured on their two-wheelers.

Even as he spoke, his mobile phone and those of his friends kept ringing. Panic-stricken calls were pouring in from everywhere anxiously inquiring after friends and acquaintances.

Everyone was excited about the unfurling entertainment later in the evening as students flocked in large number towards the open-air auditorium for the music concert of the popular Bollywood singer.

The students were being admitted in small batches when it started drizzling. And, then came the announcement that the event was about to start. This probably led to those waiting outside trying to rush inside, Sreeragh felt.

“Students were being let in through a narrow entry. Efforts to open the larger gate as the rush increased did not succeed. What I saw next was people falling down. Then there were cries and all-round panic,” he said.

Later in the night, a 10-second video had emerged showing the scenes just before the tragedy struck. It showed a wall of black-clad students thronging at the entry.

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