Knight Riders' celebrations turn chaotic

Knight Riders' celebrations turn chaotic

Knight Riders' celebrations turn chaotic

Police lathi-charge and stampede-like situation mar the occasion outside the Eden Gardens.

 The celebrations to mark the Kolkata Knight Riders’ victory in IPL -7 were marred by lathi-charge and stampede-like situation outside the Eden Gardens.

If inside people danced to Shah Rukh Khan’s tunes, outside, people ran helter-skelter, trying to save themselves from being beaten up by the police. While almost a lakh-strong crowd had gathered to participate in the celebrations and to see the cricket team named after the city, around 60,000 people entered the stadium with valid passes. 

Another 40,000 had gathered outside, hoping to get in. Since most of them were without passes, the police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the large crowd. With the scene outside marring the gala show inside, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that next time if KKR wins, the celebrations will take place at the Brigade Parade ground.

Several persons, including women and children, were injured as the horse-mounted police came down heavily on them, in their bid to bring in some order and discipline outside the stadium, where chaos reigned supreme. 

According to the police, most of those who were trying to force their way into Eden were without valid passes even though it was announced on Monday that passes would be issued from all 69 police stations across Kolkata.

While enthusiastic fans tried to climb over police barricades to gain entry into the venue, many of them complained that although entry was free, number of passes distributed were far less and the police had failed to estimate the number of people who would want to participate in the festivities. The resulting situation was one of utter chaos with the fans breaking through barriers and running wild to bypass the police cordon. A large number of fans were allowed entry at around 4.00 pm after Shah Rukh arrived to join in the celebrations.

If chaos was the order of the day outside Eden Gardens, inside the arena, thousands joined hands to applaud the victorious team and gave a deafening welcome to the team’s co-owner Shah Rukh, who was accompanied by partners Juhi Chawla and Jai Mehta, along with the managerial and technical officials of the team. While Shah Rukh was late in reaching the venue due to a technical snag in his chartered aircraft at Mumbai, Mamata also rescheduled her itinerary for the event. Informing of his delay, Shah Rukh tweeted, “Sorry Kolkata technical snag on flight. Will be a bit late but will be there. Apologies”, later adding, “Kolkata bound. Delay in flight but will make it ...Insha Allah nothing can stop us now”.

Fans, however, had started pouring in from 11.30 am to capture the best seats in the house, with thousands queuing outside the arena since 9.00 am. Inside, popular singer Usha Uthup, along with a host of stars from the Bengali film and television industry kept the crowd on their toes till the cricket team and eventually Shah Rukh, arrived. The hour-long event, which had to be started without the Bollywood star, included felicitations by both the State government and the Cricket Association of Bengal.