Stop on-field deaths, pleads Mayarani - Sanjib?s mother recalls the 1993 tragedy

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By RAJEEB MUKHERJEE in Calcutta
  • Published 7.12.04
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Calcutta: Mayarani Dutta was absolutely distraught on hearing about the Cristiano Junior tragedy. She doesn?t want another soccer death on the field.

?Stop these fatal on-field incidents, let there be no such repetition,? pleaded Sanjib Dutta?s mother when The Telegraph said on Monday.

Mayarani went through hell 11 years5 ago when only son Sanjib (Raja) breathed his last after a collision during a Santosh Trophy match in Kannur.

?I know what we went through? that?s why I realise the feelings of his (Junior?s) mother and wife at this moment.? Memories of Raja came flooding back.

?I struggled to make both ends meet in bringing up Raja. His father was ill and I also had two daughters to look after. Raja grew up to be a good footballer and helped the family financially.

?Then, everything was lost. Even after more than a decade, the situation is the same.?

Mayarani?s husband passed away a few months before the son?s death. She sold off the family house in Sajheratchala, Mandirtala, and moved to her younger daughter?s place.

?Our family disintegrated with Raja?s death. More care must be taken so that families like ours are not destroyed,? Mayarani remarked.

Sanjib left behind his wife, Nandini, who has remarried. ?I felt quite sick on hearing the news. I can hardly concentrate on my job,? said Nandini, visibly shaken by the Junior tragedy.

Nandini, an Eastern Railway employee, continued: ?I understand the pain his family must be going through? I am still carrying my pain.?

She felt there should be more awareness among everyone concerned and that the person responsible for the accident should be handed exemplary punishment.

Sanjib?s childhood friend Hiralal Das was on the benches the day the Railways medio passed away in Kannur. What a day it was! We were leading by an Arup Srimani goal in that crucial match against Andhra Pradesh.

?I was waiting for my turn on the bench when suddenly there was a clash as Raja attempted a header. He fell to the ground and was later rushed to the hospital.

?We won that match but later found out that he had died. Imagine my feelings when I had to bring his body back to Calcutta,? Hiralal recounted.

His association with Sanjib went back to 1974 when they started playing under Manojit Das, Hiralal?s elder brother, at Tarun Sporting Club in Sajheratchala.

What surprised him about Junior?s death was that even after so many years (since the Sanjib incident) and with so much progress in medical science, things on the ground have remained the same.

The All India Football Federation should definitely have adequate medical personnel at the ground, but why did Dempo not have a trained doctor with them, Hiralal asks.

?May be, in that case, Junior would have survived.?