New Delhi: India on Wednesday assured that the Pakistani team participating in the 12th South Asian Games to be held at Guwahati in February 2016 is absolutely safe and there should be no concern in this regard.
“India is absolutely safe for 12th South Asian Games to be held in Guwahati in February. There should be no concern,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told reporters at New Delhi. Rijiju’s comments came after Pakistan raised safety concerns for its athletes after threats from the Shiv Sena.
India has also decided to allow Pakistani sportspersons entry via Kolkata and Guwahati Airports to take part in sporting event. At present, Pakistanis can enter India only through Wagah-Attari border (by foot) and by air through Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
The additional entry points will allow Pakistani sports persons to reach the venue relatively easily from Guwahati and Kolkata airports, apart from overlooking the threat from Shiv Sainiks. A senior official said Pakistani sports federations had raised concerns over the safety of its athletes and is even sending a team in January to India to gauge if it is safe for their sports persons. India has assured fool-proof security.
The South Asian Games will be held in Guwahati and Shillong from February 6 to 16, 2016 with eight countries, including Pakistan, participating in the regional multi-sporting event, Nearly 4,000 athletes and officials are expected to take part in 22 sports disciplines. The 22 disciplines include archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, handball, hockey, judo, kabaddi, kho kho, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.