Kolkata, June 3 :
A West Bengal minister tweaked a famous Shahrukh Khan movie dialogue to dismiss as a “petty matter” the injury to seven people in a stampede outside the Eden Gardens during Tuesday’s felicitation to Indian Premier League (IPL) winners Kolkata Knight Riders.
Chaos reigned supreme outside the stadium as thousands of people struggled to get inside, often breaking barricades and giving a harrowing time to the vastly outnumbered police force.
The security personnel resorted to frequent pushing and shoving and even cane charged the crowds to disperse them.
Reacting to the incident, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim urged the media to focus on the grand spectacle inside rather than the “petty matter” that happened outside.
“Badi-badi events mein chhoti-chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain (in big events, minor things do happen),” Hakim said, tweaking Shahrukh Khan’s dialogue from the movie “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”.
“Our own team KKR has won. Lakhs of people are happy watching this felicitation ceremony, you should focus on the grand spectacle, so what if 10 people fell down,” Hakim told media persons.
A TV grab, however, showed one of the stampedes happened after the minister standing outside the stadium instructed police to remove the barricades and let the people into the ground.
Sports Minister Madan Mitra defended the strict police action.
“What can police do if there is a tsunami of people? If police didn’t take action, then there could have been a stampede,” Mitra said, claiming over two lakh people came for the event.
Incidentally, the stampede occurred a little after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who presided over the ceremony, directed police to allow entry to the spectators waiting outside.
Condemning the police action, the Congress and the BJP demanded a probe into the cane-charging on the crowds.
“All my happiness of KKR becoming champions turned sour after seeing innocent people, including women and children, being battered by police. There is an immediate need to probe the cane-charging by police,” Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said.
“We condemn the attitude of police and demand an immediate inquiry into the incident,” state BJP president Rahul Sinha said.