The Telegraph
Thursday , June 5 , 2014
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CAB blames it on police

Players and an official of the victorious 22 Yards Sports School, after they defeated Mainland Sambaran CA by three wickets in the final of the Ambar Roy Sub-Junior (U-14) Cricket Tournament, at the Eden, on Wednesday. Chasing 177 for victory in 40 overs, 22 Yards reached home with 26 balls to spare. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: The Eden, on Wednesday afternoon, was still sporting a hangover from the IPL.

But the happy memories of the triumphant Kolkata Knight Riders’ grand felicitation could have been severely scarred on Tuesday. The celebratory mood of the city could easily have slipped into mourning if the stampede-like situation outside Eden turned fatal.

As Wednesday morning’s newspapers flashed grimacing faces of the injured, the critical question that might have stirred many a mind was — who was responsible for the chaos?

Some would blame the Calcutta Police while some would point fingers at the political angle. But where does the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) stand in all these?

It was a joint felicitation programme by the state government and the CAB. So, isn’t the responsibility of ensuring safety theirs too?

The CAB says its hands were tied. “Our responsibility was restricted inside the stadium… We were supposed to ensure that the arrangements inside the stadium were perfect.

“ We did our best and there weren’t any complaints. The issue of law and order was being looked after by the police. The decisions were theirs, so how are we responsible for the incidents outside the ground?” questioned CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey.

“During a meeting prior to the event, the home secretary, the police commissioner and his entire team were present. We had said that there should be sufficient police deployment for the occasion,” Dey added.

A source in the CAB added something more to the issue. “Having learnt from the 2012 experience, it was the CAB who mooted the idea of distributing passes for the event from the local police stations. But later, it was decided to open the gates for everyone… That created the problem. For such an event, there should be some sort of control,” the source said.

All said and done, the CAB can’t deny that if Tuesday had seen anything unfortunate unfold at the Eden, or outside, it would have felt the heat as well.

It was a close shave and the CAB was lucky to have avoided a red face.