MS Dhoni says bye to Ram Babu, a fan from Chandigarh, while on his way to Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport on Thursday and (below) the broken windowpane bears telltale signs of the vandalism at the skipper’s Harmu house. (Prashant Mitra)
Ranchi, Oct. 24: Unidentified persons pelted Team India skipper M.S. Dhoni’s mansion in Harmu late night yesterday after rains stopped the India-Australia ODI at Dhurwa stadium, the broken windowpane at the southern entrance of the home damaging the city’s new-found urbane, sports-loving image.
As theories of drunken youths, venting their frustration over the abandoned match — ticket prices started at Rs 1,000 — do the rounds, most citizens are genuinely shocked at the unpleasant send-off Dhoni has received from his hometown. The players, including a “visibly upset” Dhoni, left for Cuttack today.
No one was home when vandals pelted stones at Shaurya, Dhoni’s imposing cream-and-black mansion, roughly between 10.30pm and 10.45pm. Dhoni’s parents Paan Singh and Devaki Devi, wife Sakshi and other close relatives were at Dhurwa stadium, 8km away.
“Dhoni bhaiyya kafi dukhi thhe kal raat ki ghatna se. (Dhoni was sad after last night’s incident),” said Chandigarh-based Ram Babu (26), a famous fan of Indian skipper who follows him to every match in the country.
Babu met Dhoni outside his house this morning before the skipper left for Cuttack. “Earlier, I had an appointment to meet him inside his house. I wanted to greet Mahi’s parents as well. But his brother-in-law Gautam Gupta said Mahi requested some other time. He was upset. Waiting outside, I met him briefly,” Babu told The Telegraph over phone.
“Vandals damaging Dhoni’s house in his own hometown paint the city in a bad light,” Babu added.
JSCA officials also rued the incident. “This was a completely senseless act. Everyone had only praises for Ranchi so far. Some rotten apples spoil everything. Even if someone is angry that the match got abandoned, one should realise that nature is beyond anyone’s control,” JSCA spokesperson Manoj Kumar said.
In Ranchi, Dhoni has always received extreme emotions. In 2007, enraged over his poor form in the first match of the World Cup, unruly fans vandalised his house and damaged a portion of the boundary wall. The same group of fans reconstructed the boundary wall silently when they realised their mistake.
In December 2010, one of the 20 CCTV cameras was stolen from his sprawling bungalow in Harmu. An FIR was registered at Argora police station. No one was arrested.
In 2011, the same city deified Dhoni as god when he brought home the World Cup the first time after 1983.
Psychiatrists feel there is an underlying cause. “Dhoni, as a celebrity role model of the city, also becomes a convenient punching bag for many seeking to vent their frustrations. So, his home, as a symbol of him, is accessible and vulnerable,” said Rinpas director Amool Ranjan.
On the latest incident, Ranchi senior superintendent of police Saket Kumar Singh said no one from Dhoni’s family had made a formal complaint so far.
Argora police station in-charge Arvind Kumar agreed. “Security guards are posted at the house. Outside, we do regular patrolling. It’s difficult to say who pelted stones and why. No FIR has been registered yet,” Kumar said.
Dhoni’s family members could not be contacted for their comments.
Neighbour Sadanand Yadav, a Central Groundwater Board employee, was more forthcoming. “Ranchi should be proud of the boy who has achieved so much at such a young age. Also, if hooligans targeted Dhoni’s residence with the police station just a stone’s throw away, you can gauge the security in this area,” he said.