The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crowd chaos fills vacuum left by Mithun

Burdwan, Jan. 19: Mithun Chakraborty was at the centre of pandemonium last night after he allegedly refused to perform before a small rural audience at Panchanantala under Katwa police station.

Ruckus raged after Mithun, invited to perform at a programme organised by the Durgagram Mitali Sangha — tickets for which had been priced at Rs 50 each — refused to entertain the small turnout, the organisers said.

But trouble erupted because, members of the audience said, they did not have enough of him.

As Mithun left the stage, 25 minutes after he arrived, allegedly noticing that the crowd had not swelled, angry villagers refused to listen to Mithun’s troupe. They insisted on the actor’s presence on stage.

A singer and a performing artist of the troupe were injured when the villagers pelted stones.

Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the angry mob and eventually rescued the artists from its wrath.

“Mithun expressed displeasure over the poor attendance and asked us to reduce the ticket price to Rs 20. But people refused to purchase tickets to watch the function despite the discount,” said Bapaditya Mondal, one of the organisers.

Mithun was not available for comment.

“We had never seen Mithun Chakraborty and had purchased tickets only to see him perform on stage. But the function was abandoned and the police lathicharged the spectators, who had spent their money for the function,” said a disappointed member of the audience.

Katwa circle inspector Amal Chakraborty said the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the angry mob that was trying to manhandle the artists, including Mithun. Five policemen sustained injuries while trying to rescue them, he added.

The secretary of the Sangha said they had booked Mithun’s troupe for Rs 3 lakh. “But Mithun spent only 25 minutes on the stage. Most of the crowd had come to see him from close quarters,” he added.

Trouble broke out at Chakdah in Nadia district this afternoon when residents discovered that Mithun and most other film stars would not turn up at a programme for which they had purchased tickets.

The police said the organisers of the function tried to make a fast buck by announcing the names of “big stars” without confirming their participation.

Realising that the residents were being taken for a ride, the police decided to publicly announce that the stars would not turn up. “We were able to defuse tension because we made the announcement,” said a police official.

The police are on the look out for the perpetrators of the function frauds.

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