By Rajibul Alam
When all the adversaries, including Pakistani media, are criticizing Indian mentality referring to the stone throwing incident post-India-Australia match in Guwahati, we the Assamese people are also questioning the moral values of Assamese society. According to a noted jourlist’s post on Facebook, someone even termed “Assam” as “terrorist”. All the so-called twitter and facebook ‘reformers’ as well as intellectuals have not left any place to hit back at the Assamese society. But everyone forgot to hit at the point at what it should have been done that is a small security lapse. Though there is a new theory coming out that the glass was broken due to excess stress, let’s assume that it was a case of stone pelting and alyze the incident.
Violence in sports ground by spectators is neither a new nor an Indian phenomenon. In fact, so-called hooliganism is projected with pride among some section of people in the West. Literally, there use to be a battle field like situation inside and outside the ground during the match and after the match. And police has to make comprehensive strategy, including detaining the hooligan leaders prior to a match to have a peaceful environment during and after the match. Yet hardly police has ever successful to resist such behavior because the number of such hooligans is very big. But FIFA has never taken a football match out of England and France neither WBSF has ever restricted any venue from organizing a baseball or softball match. And how will Muttiah Muralitharan forget the incident when the taxi carrying him and his team-mates was attacked with stones by Australian pubic in a clear racial hatred? Indeed every cricket team feels proud of playing in MCG, Melbourne though it has repeated stories of hooliganism. And no one will demand to put Oval ground on “no match list” though it has witnessed an arrow attack just a few days back during a county match between Middlesex and Surrey. Someone can say hooliganism involves fighting between spectators and they do not harm players. Hold on! Go to YouTube and search “attack on football players on the ground” and you will have your answer. And most importantly such wild behavior causes more severe losses in terms of life and properties.
In such comparison, Indians are very cooperative and cordial towards foreigners and especially towards foreign players. And the epitome is the IPL when Indian spectators show unconditiol love for foreign players including Pakistani and Australian players who do not have very good records in terms of their attitude towards Indian players on intertiol platforms. After all, only few years back who could have imagined Indians cheering for a Shoaib Akhtar playing for KKR or an Andrew Symonds playing for DC. Or at any time anyone can give the example of standing ovation, Indian spectators extended to Pakistani cricket team when they won a test match against India in Chepauk ground, Cheni in 1999. India probably has never witnessed any severe attack on any foreign player neither it has witnessed any violent mob outside the ground post match like the cases of hooligans.
Thus it can be said very safely that Indian mentality is far peaceful in terms of behavior inside and outside any sports ground. If we take one more step forward to alyze the behavior of Assamese spectators, it is well above the satisfactory limit. Assam has records of extending exemplary warmth in the golden days of Assam football when it used to host interstate as well as intertiol teams in Bordoloi trophy or Swadinotha trophy. Even if we talk about the India-England match of 2006 which was abandoned due to rain, there was a public unrest in the stadium as cricket fans were eagerly waiting for years to have a glimpse of their favorite players. Yet no one threw anything dangerous inside stadium nor there any violence occurred outside the stadium. But leave alone other venues, if we talk about India’s culture city Kolkata which is known for its sporting spirit, the story would be totally different. Who can forget the tears of Vinod Kambli when India-Sri Lanka word cup semi-fil match had to be stopped due to an unruly crowd? Or can anyone forget 19th Feb 1999 test match between India-Pakistan at Eden when the entire stadium had to be vacated to finish the match? Has anyone demanded a ban on Eden? Has anyone questioned about the people of Kolkata? No, no one. Because people know it was an over-enthusiastic crowd which could not bear the pain of India’s loss. Did ICC ban venues for preparing underprepared pitches which posed more danger to cricketers? Who can wipe the memories of abandoned matches of Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi (India-Sri Lanka,27th Dec 2009), Nehru Stadium, Indore( India-Sri Lank, 1997), Sabi Park ( West Indies-England,1997-98), Sydney’s Blacktown Intertiol Sportspark(New Zealand-Cricket Australia XI,2015)? Only exception was Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua which was suspended from intertiol cricket by ICC for under-preparing the pitch for West Indies-England cricket match in 2009.Then why does a question arise now about the mentality of the people of Assam or the possibility of a ban on Barsapara stadium by ICC or BCCI for a mere incident of single stone pelting by probably a drunken man( as reported by a noted jourlist on social media) which did not pose a grave security challenge?
So let’s not make it as a law and order situation. Let’s apologize the Australian team.Let’s not advocate for IIC ban or BCCI ban. Let’s not make the environment worrisome for teams which will be visiting in the future. Rather let’s remind Assam Police of the small loop-hole in the security arrangement and let’s encourage them to bring the culprit to the justice system.