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Backpack Pandemonium!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
By Deven Lad. Photographs By Santosh Gupta

When they were not allowed to take their backpacks into the stadium, kids who bunked college to watch Dhoni play at Brabourne Stadium, decided to heap their bags callously atop a bus stand roof. Hours later, thieves had stolen the bags and the security was irate at the irresponsible students who caused a security threat

Desperate to catch sight of Mahendra Singh Dhoni playing in his first match post the 'stepping down' announcement, students bunked college and lined up outside Brabourne Stadium along with throngs of Dhoni fans who queued up to watch the 'free entry' match.  

A first class match in India would normally not witness a crowd of more than a hundred fans. But the match between India ‘A’ and England saw serpentine crowds lined up outside the stadium at the Veer Nariman Road entrance.

In their exuberance to watch Dhoni, many college going students bunked lectures and came to see the match. Unfortunately the security  personnel stopped them and refused entry to those carrying backpacks.

In a desperate attempt to get into the stadium, around 50 students came up with the ‘juggad' idea of dumping their backpacks on the roof of the bus-stop nearby. Within minutes, the BEST bus stop roof (Ahilyabai Holkar Chowk bus stop) opposite Churchgate station was full of bags which remained unclaimed for hours.

Taking advantage of the situation, many miscreants picked up whatever they wanted or what suited their needs and were later joined by a number of paupers in the area. By the end of the Indian batting, many students who decided to head back home were unable to spot their bags. Eventually, students who headed to the Marine Lines Police Station to inquire about their belongings came in for some sarcasm from the personnel there.

“It is your bag why should we search for it? You should have been responsible enough to keep it at the right place, it is your fault. How it is our fault!” said a cop to the angry youth.

Ajinkya Kamble, one of the students who lost his bag told Afternoon D&C, “Four of my friends lost bags and books. Although, there were no valuables but we need those books.”

Even a cricket fanatic lecturer Hrishank Jain followed his students and lost his belongings and was found by this newspaper searching for his bag. “I have been searching for my bag but could not find it and now the police has detained a lady and are investigating the matter, hopefully we should get back our belongings.”

In 2013, a blast had occurred at Kabutarkhana, Dadar after a package was placed atop the BEST bus-stop which left one dead and 14 injured. Thereafter, many roofs from the bus stops were removed citing a potential security threat. The enthusiastic students yesterday unknowingly triggered serious security concerns with the police.

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