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Flare-ups leave officials in a spot

Soon after the Chandigarh Lions and Kolkata Tigers match ended, there was frenzied activity in one corner with people throwing chairs at the security personnel and damaging seats at will, reports Anam Arsalan.

cricket Updated: Mar 27, 2008 22:53 IST
Anam Arsalan

THE ABSENCE of chairs at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Thursday was glaring. And the authorities had solid reasons to take such a bizarre action.

“Do you feel we should continue with the hospitality towards the spectators after yesterday’s incident,” said a security official, referring to Wednesday night’s incident.

Soon after the Chandigarh Lions and Kolkata Tigers match ended, there was frenzied activity in one corner with people throwing chairs at the security personnel and damaging seats at will.

The reason for such behaviour, according to an eyewitness, was the unauthorised entry of a person, who refused to leave despite repeated requests. The mood turned violent when the personnel, allegedly, resorted to violence.

A.K. Singh, head of 24 Secure, responsible for the stadium’s security, denied the allegation. “We were only restricting him, but the crowd thought otherwise and started throwing chairs at us."

Later, some gatecrashers broke into the warehouse and took away more than 2000 tickets, leading to a dearth at the counter on Thursday.

Ironically, these incidents can be called termed minor, keeping in mind earlier happenings. An official, who was checking tickets at the VIP enclosure on Wednesday, had to face four gun-toting men. "What could I do other than to let them pass," he said helplessly. It later came to light that similar incidents have occurred since the tournament got underway here on Sunday.

There are some 500 men manning the stadium's security of which 150 are from Haryana Police while the rest are unarmed guards and bouncers.

The incidents also left some of the cheerleaders unnerved. One of the girls, Anna, while appreciating the ambience, feared the crowd outburst. Her choreographer, Sylvester said, "Her parents in Moscow were scared and wanted her to come back but she managed to calm them down."

Sydney-based security expert Andrew Cooke, who has been hired to oversee the arrangements, though played down the occurrences. "Such incidents happen everywhere. The spectators are generally calm, it's only a few unruly elements that create tension."