KKR fans face police batons outside Eden

Kolkata: As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan hogged the limelight inside the Eden Gardens stadium Tuesday, spectators outside had to face police's wrath.

The police resorted to baton charge to control the unruly crowds during the felicitation of Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

The police, however, denied that they had resorted to a baton charge.

The Eden Gardens where the felicitation ceremony was organised saw the crowd count far exceed the stadium capacity while an equal number of spectators milled around outside, looking to enter the stadium.

With the entry to the stadium made free by Banerjee, the swelling crowds made the situation go out of control after fans broke the barricades. Police then resorted to baton charge to disperse the fans.

Many fans were seen running outside the stadium while some of them tried to scale the walls of the stadium to enter inside.

Television visuals showed some fans crying after being beaten up by police.

"I came here from Siliguri (in North Bengal's Darjeeling district) to catch a glimpse of Shah Rukh but got a beating from the police in return," a spectator, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

"I have been trying to get into the stadium since morning but could not. There was so much rush. In spite of the chief minister's order, police had locked the gates and when we argued, we were beaten up," said another cricket fan, who did not give out his name.

"The administration should have made better arrangements for a programme of such magnitude. It is shame that innocent spectators are beaten for no fault of theirs," said Nauseem, who too could not enter the stadium.

Slippers and shoes lay scattered along the roads outside the stadium as terrified spectators ran helter-skelter trying to save themselves from the assaulting police.

"I did not expect the police will rain blows on us just for trying to enter the stadium. We came here just to see the players," said Rajesh Das.

However, Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Javed Shamim said: "There was no baton charge. There was a big crowd outside. So there may have been some pushing." (IANS)