The Durand Cup, India's oldest football tournament, witnessed a shameful incident of racism and violence on Tuesday when students from the Northeast and Darjeeling were abused and attacked by some East Bengal supporters at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata. East Bengal beat Northeast United in the Durand Cup semifinal on penalties after the game ended 2-2.
According to the students, who wished to remain anonymous, they faced racial slurs like "momo", "chowmein" and "corona" from the East Bengal fans, who also threw water bottles, slippers and stones at them. The situation worsened after the match ended, as the students were surrounded by an angry mob and had to be escorted out by the army and the police personnel present at the stadium.
“There were women students with us too. After the second goal, stones and slippers were pelted at us from above and both sides. Two of the students received minor injuries. We were all scared. Police and Army men cordoned us and we moved under the covered area of the stadium for safety. East Bengal fans kept calling us outside,” said a student from Kalimpong.
“East Bengal FC condemns all forms of racism. there is no room for discrimination in football, a sport that unites people,” East Bengal said in a statement. All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary general Shaji Prabhakaran has also spoken about this and promised action. East Bengal will face the winner between FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan in the final.