Crowd mismanagement at Rajaji Hall, Marina

By Santhosh Mathevan Published on Aug 09, 2018 01:14 PM IST

Corporation workers collecting the left out footwears at Rajaji Hall.

Chennai: When lakhs of cadres and public converge at a place, it will be a hectic time for police personnel on the D-day and tiring for sanitary workers a day after.

So, was the situation during and post-burial of the former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. The DMK leader, who passed away on Tuesday, was buried at Anna Square in Marina on Wednesday.

More people, less force

It could be openly seen at Rajaji Hall and Kamarajar Salai that police personnel were outnumbered. Many cadres said crowd management was inefficient. "We are around 10,000 members here, but there are hardly 50 police officials," said a cadre who was standing at the entrance of the tomb of former Chief Minister C N Annadurai. As the cadre said, people were pushing each other trying to approach the entrance.

A few cops were struggling to control them as it was in the ratio of 5:100. As the gun carriage carrying Karunanidhi was nearing the burial ground from Walajah Road, police personnel near the entrance of Anna Square had a tough time bringing everything under control. One of them, standing behind three

barricades linked with ropes was all of a sudden pushed by about 100 cadres. The cop immediately stretched his hands balancing all three barricades and stopped the people single-handedly.

"Only a couple of officials are standing in the front row. A whole lot of them are keeping distance. And, this looks weird," said a senior journalist covering the funeral.

However, it was not the first time in the day that the situation turned bad as it was dicey at Rajaji Hall itself .

Not just general public

Along the VIP entrance located behind the building, the number of police started to come down after a certain point in time. "We are not sure why the security set-up was weak here too. They maintained good numbers till Prime Minister Modi left the place. But after that it slackened."

A couple of celebrities and film personalities, including Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, Imman Annachi, actress Kanchana, comedian Vadivelu, and several others got caught in the congestion after this.

Similarly, the space allocated for mediapersons in front of Rajaji Hall started to fill with partymen and public towards noon. When a couple of scribes complained about this to a police officer on the spot, he tried to move them out.

However, as he was the only policeman there and he could not control them.

Cleaning continues

For conservancy workers were loaded with work on Wednesday as also Thursday.

"I would have picked at least 1,000 floaters and footwear since yesterday," said a Greater Chennai Corporation sanitary worker today. On Wednesday evening, a section of the crowd gathered near the arch of Anna's tomb pelted slippers and water bottles at the police, RAF, and paramilitary force as they prevented them from entering the burial ground.

These slippers were collected by the Corporation workers today and sent to dumpyards. "Apart from that the entire stretches of Walajah Road, Kamarajar Salai, Rajaji Hall and Anna Square were completely littered. We have been cleaning them since last night," the worker added.

Four dead, 54 persons hurt 
Four persons died and 54 were injured during the stampede outside Rajaji Hall, where thousands of DMK supporters had gathered to get a glimpse of the mortal remains of DMK leader M Karunanidhi on Wednesday.

Seven people are undergoing treatment at Royapettah Government Hospital.

Police identified the deceased - Sembagavalli (60) and Venkatraman (60) of MGR Nagar, Chooliapallam, Durai (56), a native of Madurai and Saravanan (37).

"We are tracing the immediate relatives of Saravanan. We have also informed about the death of three victims to their family members," police said.

Triplicane police have registered cases related to stampede. The police resorted to lathicharge after failing to control the crowd. Minor scuffles broke out between police and DMK supporters.