Dismissing Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s threat to disrupt Indo-Pakistan cricket series, the Union home ministry on Monday said foolproof security will be provided to the Pakistani team and all matches will be held as per schedule.
When asked about the Indo-Pak matches in the wake of Bal Thackeray’s warning, minister of state for home RPN Singh said, “Those opposing it should take the game as game only. The matches will happen as schedule.”
Sensing possible trouble from the Shiv Sena, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has already kept Mumbai out of Indo-Pak itinerary. New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore are the venues for three one-dayers and two T20 matches.
Earlier, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray roared from his sick bed asking people to disrupt India-Pakistan cricket matches scheduled in December unless union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde retracted his statements about forgetting the past and playing cricket with Pakistan.
The Shiv Sena and the MNS have opposed cultural or sports ties with Pakistan and Pakistani players playing on Indian soil due to its hand in terror attacks in the country. “Even though I am lying indisposed on my bed, my blood does not allow me to sit silent when it comes to national interest. Hence, I am publishing this statement for my Hindu brothers with such intensity,” said Thackeray, whose health has been an issue of concern for his supporters, in the statement published in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna on Monday.
“Shindesaheb, if you have some shame left, withdraw this statement about the Hindustan-Pakistan cricket matches, otherwise, it’s my heartfelt appeal to staunch Hindus, (and) self-respecting patriots in not just Mumbai and Maharashtra but in Hindustan to stop these matches from taking place wherever they are scheduled. Disrupt these matches. Let’s see what happens,” said Thackeray.
In October 1991, MNS MLA Shishir Shinde, who was then in the Shiv Sena, had dug up the pitch at the Wankhede stadium to protest an India- Pakistan cricket match which was to be played there.