Sports: India-Pak cricket talks put off after Sena protest
Officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will meet on Tuesday in New Delhi after Shiv Sena activists barged into the Indian cricket board’s office in Mumbai to protest a bilateral series slated for December.
Reports said PCB chief Shaharyar Khan will be in Delhi for the meeting with BCCI president Shashank Manohar.
Earlier, activists of far-right political group Shiv Sena attacked the BCCI headquarters Monday, just before Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan was to meet BCCI chief Shashank Manohar to discuss a bilateral series in December, NDTV reported.
According to the report, Sena activists crashed through the gates of the office in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium that serves as the headquarters of the BCCI.
The activists shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and held posters that read ‘Shahryar Khan go back’, determined to stop Manohar from meeting his Pakistani counterpart.
The protesters entered Manohar’s office and crowded around his desk, shouting slogans.
“Six people are being held in custody and we are registering an offence of rioting,” Mumbai Police Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni told AFP. “Thirty-five were involved so we are looking to arrest a few more,” he added.
The protesters demanded that Manohar cancel talks with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan that were planned in Mumbai Monday.
Shiv Sena has also threatened to stop Pakistan’s Aleem Dar from officiating in the fifth and final ODI between India and South Africa to be played in Mumbai on Sunday, said a report published on the Cricinfo website.
Congress lawmaker and ex-BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla condemned the attack on BCCI headquarters on Twitter saying that “cricketing decisions should be left to BCCI.”
Meanwhile, Chief Executive of International Cricket Council (ICC) David Richardson has regretted the attack on BCCI office by Shiv Sena extremists, reported Radio Pakistan.
Addressing a news conference in Dubai, he said the cricket playing nations should promote mutual cooperation.
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and head of the PCB’s executive committee Najam Sethi arrived in India on Sunday on invitation of the BCCI chief in an attempt to convince Indian Cricket Board to confirm the bilateral series in December.
The much-anticipated meeting between the two boards was deferred after Shiv Sena activists charged into the BCCI office.
The Indian and Pakistani boards had signed a pact for six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, beginning with Pakistan’s home series in December.
India have not played a bilateral Test series against Pakistan since 2007, though they did host them for two T20Is and three ODIs between December 2012 and January 2013.
The incident comes a week after activists belonging to Shiv Sena — a junior partner in a ruling coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Maharashtra state government — attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, who organised a book launch in Mumbai for former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.
The group was also accused of using threats to force the cancellation of an appearance in Mumbai by Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali.
Shiv Sena, a hardline outfit founded by the late Bal Thackeray, has in the past threatened Pakistani athletes to deter them from engaging in competitive sports in India.