'Khela Hobe Diwas to mark death of football fans in 198o stampede'
kolkata: Stating the reason behind choosing August 16 as "Khela Hobe Diwas" every year, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said it is the day when 16 football lovers had lost their lives in 1980 at the Eden Gardens in a stampede and "Khela Hobe Diwas" is basically to commemorate the same.
The Chief Minister's statement comes when BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta was criticised for making reference to the Direct Action Day which was launched by the Muslim League on August 16, 1946 and his comment that in Bengal 'Khela Hobe' meant attack on the opponents.
On Thursday while addressing a Press conference at Nabanna, Banerjee said some are making a wrong meaning of the "Khela Hobe Diwas". But it is equally significant like that of Kanyashree Diwas.
"We have chosen 16 August to observe Khela Hobe Diwas as many people had lost lives on this day in 1980. Earlier many clubs at Kolkata Maidan used to observe this day. But now it is not observed giving due significance to the same. The day after the country's Independence Day is the right day to observe "Khela Hobe Diwas" when the people of India are almost chained down with their democratic and fundamental rights are crushed due to the autocratic rule in the country," Banerjee said.
Banerjee further said that 1 lakh footballs will be distributed on the "Khela Hobe Diwas" among people from different communities and local clubs.
The 283 clubs under the Indian Football Association (IFA) will also be receiving 10 balls each. The Youth Services and Sports department is the nodal department to distribute the footballs.