Mamata Defends Police on Football Match Violence
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In an apparent reference to Sunday's violence during the derby match here between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today defended the police saying they should not be blamed for all incidents.

"The police should not be blamed always for stray incident at soccer grounds or stadium as the situation depends on many factors," Banerjee said while addressing the investiture ceremony of the Kolkata Police.

Without mentioning the match, she said "Incidents can take place during a match out of emotional outburst, but that can be settled through negotiation on the spot".

"One lakh policemen cannot be deployed for one lakh spectators. The match should have been resumed after settling the dispute," she said.

With one lakh spectators in the Yuva Bharati Krirangan at Salt Lake, all hell broke loose in the Mohun Bagan stands after their star player Odafa Okolie was red-carded.

Missiles like bottles and stones started flying from the stands and one of them hit Bagan's Rahim Nabi on the face and subsequently he had been admitted to hospital.

The game was held up for about 15 minutes and the match had to be abandoned after Mohun Bagan refused to turn up after the interval claiming inadequate security.

As the news of Nabi's injury spread the crowd became restive and the police lathicharged in the gallery, reminding another derby match at the Eden Gardens on August 16, 1980 in which where 16 football fans were killed.

"The police is a law enforcing agency outside the ground. So they can't be responsible entirely for such a flare. There are several other factors.", Banerjee said.

"How can you say that they did not take any initiative to stop violence? They are also doing good works controlling crowd during festivals, fairs and even during road accidents or clashes," Banerjee said.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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