The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BCCI needs to speak up, not remain silent
- Near-tragedy at Nahar Singh Stadium
Kapil Dev

Calcutta: Till late on Saturday, 36 hours after a young girl nearly got killed in the stampede at the Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad, there wasn’t even a token expression of regret from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The only announcement in this period, through a PR agency, was that a particular company had bagged the “ground rights” for the two-match Indo-Pak Friendship Series in Abu Dhabi later this month.

Makes one sick, really.

The present regime, headed by Union minister Sharad Pawar, has been talking of making a difference. A good starting point would have been deputing a senior functionary to meet the Jains (Vidhi and her mother, Sangeeta, who also got badly hurt) in hospital and taking the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) to task.

But, then, that would be expecting too much as the priority is to fix one-time supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Somebody from the BCCI did appear on the TV channels after the second ODI against England, but suggested its responsibility ended once the matches (Tests/ODIs) are awarded to affiliates.

That’s preposterous.

In fact, even Faridabad’s deputy commissioner, G. Anupama, has admitted there were probably around 3,000 spectators in excess of capacity (22,000).

“I can’t be sure, but the number of those inside could have been about 25,000,” Ms Anupama told The Telegraph.

However, she quickly added (while speaking from her residence): “It’s for the BCCI and the HCA to launch an investigation into how more than 22,000 tickets/passes were sold/distributed'”

What about a probe into the baton-charge by the Faridabad police'

“That action was, believe me, to save the girl and her mother' As the nature of injuries proves, they were hurt by the mob which wanted to gate-crash through entry point No.7,” Ms Anupama responded.

She confirmed both mother and daughter had “valid” tickets. “It’s a matter of regret they got injured' As far as the administration is concerned, we’ve offered every assistance' Anything they want'”

Well, at least somebody in authority has expressed regret. Strangely, though, an inquiry isn’t being talked about.

[According to an agency report, Vidhi will be discharged quicker than her mother.]

Despite what happened, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda went ahead with “honouring” the state’s India players (during the lunch break) at the neighbouring Aravalli Golf Club.

Kapil Dev, obviously, was one of them.

“I just attended that function and, so, can’t comment on what happened at the stadium' It’s sad if fans get hurt, but you can’t condone the gate-crashing either,” he pointed out, speaking exclusively.

In Kapil’s view, a probe alone would reveal what happened.

India’s only World Cup-winning captain, it may be recalled, took the HCA to court (after a spat with Ranbir Singh Mahendra, incidentally Pawar’s lacklustre predecessor) almost a decade ago.

That verdict is awaited. However, a janata ki adalat would give a thumbs-down to the HCA. The BCCI, too.

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