New Delhi: Politics has cast a pall of uncertainty over the ICC World T20 game between India and Pakistan in Dharamsala on March 19, with the state government saying in a letter to the Centre that it would not be able to provide security on the occasion.
Possibly the most anticipated clash of the tournament’s preliminary phase, the match was one of eight games awarded to the Himachal Pradesh centre, which is also the home association of cricket control board secretary Anurag Thakur.
Thakur, a member of Parliamant with the ruling BJP, has asked the Congress-led state government not to play politics with the match, saying the schedule was known well in advance.
“The venues of the World Cup matches were decided one year ago, the allotment of matches was decided six months ago. People all over have made bookings and it is not fair to give such statements at the last minute,” Thakur said here.
“The Congress-led state government is clearly playing politics. Hundreds of Pakistani athletes were given security during the South Asian Games in Assam, why can’t the Himachal government do the same?
“By claiming that you cannot provide security, you are only giving credence to Pakistani claims that there is a security threat to their team in India. It’s about the country’s image, you cannot play politics over it,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh wrote to the Home Ministry saying that the state government could not provide security for the match a day after the Himachal Pradesh Congress had asked the BCCI to either cancel the proposed match or shift the venue. The party said since the state was home to a large number of soldiers, hosting the Pakistan team would hurt the sentiments of martyrs’ families.
“Many incidents have taken place in recent past, like Pathankot attack,” the chief minister was quoted as saying. “Soldiers from Himachal lost their lives in J&K. If our war veterans don’t want Indo-Pak match to be held in Dharamsala, the Himachal cricket association should accept their condition.”...