Actors Hrithik Roshan and Barbara Mori’s flying visit to the Capital on Sunday evening almost caused a stampede in Noida’s Great India Place (GIP) Mall, where more than a lakh fans had gathered, causing a ruckus.
The actors had a hard time, being shoved amidst the chaos. “Hrithik and Barbara were pushed around. She even bruised her knees,” said an event organisers. “All elevators, lifts and almost all exits were closed. People climbed on railings... it looked like a stampede could break out any minute,” said Mannan Bisht, a photographer.
In the chaos that ensued, the glass door of the mall’s Louis Philippe store was broken. “The crowd was so chaotic they crashed into our door, and I was hurt by the broken glass. We suffered a loss of Rs 2 lakh,” said Dhananjay Pandey, who works at the store.
Other shopkeepers were equally unhappy. “So much loss... all because of Hrithik. He should never have come on a Sunday,” says Manpreet Singh, store manager, Reid and Taylor.
“We lost a business of Rs 25,000-30,000 in one day. I guess every store in the mall did,” says Deepak Kukreti, store manager Monte Carlo. “Nearly 40 per cent of our business was affected,” said Prakah Biswakarma, store manager, Lerros. “People who came to shop were unable to do so because of the crowd. Some people even fell down and were injured badly,” said an employee at the Van Huesen store.
However, mall authorities refute, saying things were under control. “There were 1,38,500 people in the mall at the time and we are equipped to handle at least 3 lakh people. There was no stampede-like situation. It was just one rowdy fan who caused problems. But we had adequate security — bouncers and security guards were provided by the event organiser and the mall,” says Piyush Pushpak, manager PR, GIP Mall.
Security arrangements for the event
Footfall - 1,38,000
Bouncers provided by organisers - 60
Security guards provided especially for the event - 30
Mall security personnel - 100
Police officials - 100
1 platoon of Platoon Action Craft was also on standby
The SSP Gautam Budh Nagar was also present at the venue