The Indian Premier League match scripting success story for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) has back fired as hundreds of ticket-holders were denied entry into an already jam-packed cricket stadium to watch the encounter between Kings Punjab XI and Deccan chargers.
Though HPCA stadium has sitting capacity of 20,000 packed full to its capacity, chaos prevailed at the entrance gates as hundreds of cricket fans were denied entry into the stadium. The situation turned hostile when the restive cricket fans broke the steel gates in an attempt to make their way into the stadium. There seemed to be no end to long serpentine queues outside the gate.
The metal detectors installed at the gates for security checking were damaged in the stampede. Chaos prevailed more at gates 7 and 5 where the mob started to pelt stones from outside. Policemen and private security guards sustained injuries on their head. Police had to use batons, to bring the crowd under control. Many of the people were able to get into the stadium after they broke the iron gates, few of them without tickets barged inside.
People also climbed on the 20 feet high boundary walls of the stadium to get a glimpse of cricket players and cheer leaders which added attraction to the first mega cricket event.
The restive crowd that surged on the gates, raised slogans against HPCA, without knowing that Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab were responsible for the sale of tickets. Kings XI Punjab had to bear the blame for the situation as it had distributed printed tickets far more than capacity.
HPCA officials shifted the onus for chaos outside the stadium on the Police personnel. “It was the responsibility of the police to control the crowd," said an official. Senior Superintendent of Police, Kangra Dr Atul Fulzele said the people were prevented since the stadium was full to its capacity.
HPCA President Anurag Thakur was upset with chaotic situation that prevailed outside the stadium. “We are urging Punjab Kings XI officials to compensate the people who could not watch the match due to some or the other reasons” Anurag Thakur told Hindustan Times.
Large number of people had come from outside after purchasing the tickets online. “I have come all the way from Delhi, but it was disheartening as we were not allowed to enter the stadium,” said Sanjay Kumar... Few of the cricket fans threatened to approach the local courts against Kings XI Punjab franchisee.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket association had also provided complementary passes. “HPCA had given us complimentary passes but they did not allow us to enter the stadium,” alleged Rajesh Sharma from Una who had waited for more than four hours at the gate before he turned back home after the match got over.