Amit Dey: The blackest day of Calcutta Maidan revisited. The Federation Cup final at Eden Gardens took 16 lives, which could not be forgotten 36 years after. There was another tragic incident which had happened decades ago. That was a test match between India and West Indies. But the football match of 16th August exceeded the previous tragedy.
At that time Federation Cup final meant the battle of national fame. And that match was between the best two teams of Calcutta. Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal. Salt Lake stadium was a dream then. Eden Gardens was the prime arena for cricket and football both. That very day the stadium had overflowed. The spectators of both giants had gathered with tremendous lust for victory. There was sparks of passion in the atmosphere as usual. This passion is the lifeline for every year. Without Mohun Bagan and East Bengal is there any meaning of life in Calcutta!
But something had happened which turned the game in to a bloody battle ground. “Sport in the game is the spirit of the game” had evaporated. Some witnesses had blamed the match referee for it. It is true that though the referee had the FIFA registration he came from Goa. Had no previous experience of Calcutta Maidan. So he had tried to conduct the game in Goan way. And the hell broke loose. The game was goalless @ 16 lives.
On the 16th August of 1980, Calcutta witnessed that gory incident which no less tragic than ‘black hole’ massacre. After the eleven years of that incident I had born. Maybe we just notice it in various records, our conscience cannot tolerate that despair. We just hope, another black ‘16th August’ never see never again.