The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maidan cricket turf clash kills boy
Md Imran

Calcutta, April 30: Cricket hooliganism claimed a second life in two weeks when a 16-year-old city schoolboy was hit with a stump on the Maidan this afternoon.

Mohammed Imran wasn’t even playing cricket — he was kicking a football around with friends on a patch of the greens near Ladies’ Golf Club in Hastings.

But around 3.30 pm, they were ordered off the turf by a group of young men from Watgunge who said they wanted to play cricket there, Imran’s uncle Sheikh Imtiaz said.

“A quarrel broke out. The boys from Watgunge began beating Imran and his friends with bats and stumps. My nephew suffered serious head injuries.”

On April 14, a 17-year-old cricketer, Rabin Ash, was battered to death with a stump over an lbw dispute in a Howrah club match. Psychologists had then blamed the tragedy on the Indian cricket fan’s growing inability to treat cricket as just a game.

Imran was declared dead at SSKM hospital but, unable to accept the shattering news, his family rushed him to B.M. Birla Heart Research Institute only to get a confirmation.

“His friends took him to SSKM hospital and informed us. The doctors said he was dead but we could not believe it,” Imtiaz said.

Two of Imran’s friends have been admitted to nursing homes with injuries.

Imran, a resident of Ekbalpore Road, had written his Madhyamik examination this year from the Khalsa English High School, Jagubazar. His father, Sheikh Dulara, is a temporary employee with a cigarette manufacturing company in the city.

“Imran was a very good student and a helpful friend,” said Subohi Arzoo, a classmate.

Police have detained three youths from the Watgunge group. “A case has been registered and we have launched an investigation,” said deputy commissioner Ajoy Kumar.

Psychologists have expressed concern at the increasing aggression being witnessed on the playground and off it, especially from young cricket fans.

On TV, they watch international teams bristle with belligerence and hear the hype about the game being a matter of life and death. It influences them so much that they carry this attitude to their own games, an expert said.

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