Inefficient management caused suffering for fans who thronged the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Friday to purchase box office tickets for the IPL (Indian Premier League) clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI).
Thousands of fans were packed like sardines in narrow barricaded queues. The ticket counter opened briefly in the morning, before being mysteriously shut for many hours. Exhausted fans, many of whom had been in queue since the previous night, pleaded with police personnel for information on why the counter was shut. The police contended that they were not in the know.
Feeble excuses about faulty printers and extended lunch breaks, heard through the grapevine, failed to placate the crowd. This led to heated arguments between the fans and police. With the hours passing ever so slowly, a section of fans started to beat the stadium gates in frustration. Chants berating RCB rang through the air.
A police officer thought it wise to grab the microphone to shout and threaten those in queue, but this only raised tempers. A little while later, another police officer took a physical approach to control the crowd. With some thunderous slaps and whacks of the ‘lathi’ - the officer did not spare even innocent onlookers - he attempted to keep everyone in line. The enforcer was particularly tough on those who tried to break queue.
One fan suffered a medical condition, and was lifted out of the queue. He was given questionable first aid by police personnel and made to sit unattended on a plastic chair. There were no ambulances or doctors present.
When the ticket counter finally reopened, the crowd began to push and shove. A few fans who were crushed screamed in pain. There were no smiles on the faces of even those who managed to buy tickets; only a huge sigh of relief and a silent prayer for escaping the melee.
There was no separate queue for women, which caused many women to complain. It was far too dangerous for them to enter the single queue thronged entirely by men, the women rightly argued.
Many fans questioned the need to have box office sales, when online purchase is an option.
RCB takes on MI here on Sunday.
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