Chaos at Eden Garden, Five Injured As Fans Celebrate KKR Win
Chaos reigned supreme at the Kolkata Knight Riders felicitation ceremony at the Eden Gardens today as five persons were injured after police resorted to lathi charge in order to control the unruly crowd.
With nearly one lakh fans turning up to witness the star-studded Kolkata team including team owners Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Jai Mehta at the 67,000-capacity Eden, hell broke lose as fans tried to catch a closer glimpse of their heroes.
Five persons, including two women, were injured in the chaos, police sources said.
Policemen also used batons in certain places to stop over-enthusiastic fans turning aggressive after being denied entry.
State Cabinet Minister Firhad Hakim when asked about the situation, told newspersons, "You may have seen (chaos), but I have not.
"You are Bengal media, so project what is good about Bengal."
SRK was delayed by two hours but that did not take any sheen off the felicitation of Kolkata Knight Riders in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Overwhelmed by the support his team received from the fans, Khan said he has never seen such enormous backing for a team.
"I don't think any other state or country in the world has this kind of support for their sporting heroes. Many many thanks to all of you. Thank you Kolkata for supporting us for our second win," he said at the team's felicitation at the Eden Gardens, organised by the state government and CAB.
"Our success for KKR which is run by Venky Mysore and captained by Gautam Gambhir is just because of you. I thank all of you bowing my head on behalf of my team," he said.
"Humko aapki taaliyan bhi Padang hai aur gaaliyan bhi (we appreciate both your love and flaks)... We will keep working hard and keep entertaining you sharing our happiness."
KKR supporters are spread everywhere not just in Kolkata, he said and quoted a popular dialogue from his movie Don: "Don ko agar koi pakad sakta hai woh KKR ke supporters hain."
Taking bows repeatedly as a gesture of gratitude to fans, SRK made a lap of the packed Eden, waving and blowing kisses with his entire squad in tow with loud cries of team slogan 'Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re... Ami Kolkata, we rule'.
Holding aloft the trophy, skipper Gautam Gambhir led the victory lap along with co-owner Juhi Chawla.
SRK apologised for his delay on his official Twitter handle, "Sorry Kolkata technical snag on flight. Will be a bit late but will be there. Apologies.
"Kolkata bound. Delay in flight, but will make it...Insha Allah nothing can stop us now," SRK tweeted as the reception began at noon.
Earlier, the KKR cricketers on board eight open SUVs made a victory lap of the stadium amid confetti showers soon after the Chief Minister arrived.
While about 60,000 people managed to enter the stadium thousands jostled in the surrounding Maidan area to gain entry which was 'free' but only with 'complimentary passes' from police stations in the metropolis and through CAB affiliated clubs in the state.
The stadium authorities opened the gates at 11:00 am to enable supporters to enter well ahead of the start of the programme scheduled at 1:00 pm, which was delayed.
People started queueing up at Eden Gardens from as early as 9:00 am as all roads led there.
Later, after SRK arrived at 4:00 pm, Banerjee, who rescheduled her visit to north Bengal to be present at the felicitation, asked policemen to let people in.
With no reception in Bengal being complete without sweets, a specially made giant sandesh weighing 40kg in a replica of Eden Gardens was placed with the Trophy.
The cake was cut jointly by team co-owners Shah Rukh, Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta along with skipper Gambhir and the chief minister.
Unlike the 2012 celebration after their maiden IPL triumph when team members were showered with gold, it was the Cricket Association of Bengal that jointly feted the IPL 7 champions.
The felicitation began with CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya handing out gold rings weighing 10 gm each to all the members and support staff of the victorious side. Also presented were Alphonso mangoes on the state's behalf.
The delirious scenes with people, including women and children jostling, resembled KKR's victory celebration on May 29 two years ago.
Indipop singer Usha Uthup belted out popular Bollywood chartbusters to keep the spectators engaged till the arrival of KKR.
Taking a cue from PM Narendra Modi's hugely successful 'Ab Ki Baar...' campaign, she sang a new theme song -- 'Ab ki baar KKR, Baar baar KKR, Baar baar chhukka maar' -- to the delight of spectators.
There were also a host of Bengali film and TV industry celebrities in attendance.
Madan Mitra, who was present with a host of state ministers, was seen sitting on the Eden outfield giving shutterbugs a photo opportunity.
Needless to say there were traffic gridlocks and people commuting by public or private transport faced a harrowing time.
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