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Soccer death charges fly

The police maintain that soccer fan Maqsood Alam’s death at Tuesday’s Mohammedan Sporting-Mohun Bagan match was caused by accident. However, Mohammedan Sporting officials insist he succumbed to injuries sustained in a lathicharge after the Tata Federation Cup semi-final.

A Mohammedan Sporting official added that the club has called an emergency executive committee meeting on Thursday to decide on taking part in Saturday’s final.

“The gravity of the incident cannot be ignored... Police are hiding the truth. There was ample evidence of a lathicharge when I visited the stadium late on Tuesday. Hundreds of slippers were lying around, which proves the fans had to run for safety,” said an official .

Mohammedan Sporting officials halted briefly at the club tent before carrying the body to Alam’s Shibpur residence on Wednesday. They said they would demand compensation for the victim’s family, since he was only 26.

But IFA secretary Subrata Dutta said though there is a special insurance package for spectators during the tournament, compensation in this case can’t given since the death had occurred outside the stadium.

Inspector-general (law and order) Chayan Mukherjee maintained that Alam had not died in a lathicharge but had been run over and killed by a Matador van near gate no. 4 of the stadium. An FIR had been lodged by Alam’s brother with Salt Lake (south) police station, Mukherjee pointed out. The police blamed Mohammedan Sporting supporters for spreading “wild rumours”.

An officer at the ground said: “This is what fanned the flames and led to allegations of Alam being killed in a police lathicharge.”

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