Kolkata Knight Riders IPL victory celebrations at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday was ruined by lathi-charge and a near-stampede situation. As many as 150,000 fans turned up at the Eden with 64,000 finding a seat inside the stadium. (KKR's Eden Bash: As it Happened)
The celebrations, organized in a hurry jointly by the West Bengal state government and the Cricket Association of Bengal, were rather chaotic. In 2012 when KKR won the IPL for the first time, it was better organized. (Near-Stampede Situation at Eden Gardens)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who cut short a trip to North Bengal to attend the KKR party, was clearly embarrassed by the chaotic event. The amazing turnout clearly stumped the administration.
The chief minister said next time if KKR win the IPL, the celebrations will be held at the Brigade Parade ground, the vast expanse of green in the Maidan that normally hosts political rallies.
On a hot and sultry morning, fans queued up from 10 am to enter the stadium after police stations distributed 'tickets' on a first-come-first-serve basis on Monday. But the celebrations, which were scheduled to begin around 12 noon, got delayed after Shah Rukh Khan arrived almost three hours late because his flight from Mumbai hit a technical snag.
Kolkata's grand plans for their heroes and the enthusiastic local fans went awry when lakhs of people turned up in and around Eden Gardens and the police were caught off-guard. The police struggled to control the situation. Soon, the Rapid Action Force had to intervene and cane fans in front of the Dr B.C. Roy Club House, Eden Gardens.
Several fans were injured and were found bleeding. Many fans, among them women and children, were caught in a stampede and almost suffocated. The West Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra tried to pacify the crowd, but in vain.