MUMBAI: Aggressively pursuing its campaign against Pakistani personalties, Shiv Sena workers today stormed the Indian Cricket Board headquarters forcing cancellation of scheduled talks with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan here over resumption of bilateral cricketing ties.
The talks on the proposed bilateral series have now been rescheduled to be held in Delhi tomorrow. The attack also added to the growing chasm between NDA partners with state BJP President Raosaheb Danve asserting that his party did not agree with the Sena action and that it will provide protection to Pakistan team in the event of it playing a match here.
Ten Sena workers were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly and violating Police Commissioner’s order to refrain from such gathering, a senior police officer said. They were later granted bail by a local court on a personal bond of Rs 2,000.
The noisy protests by over a hundred slogan shouting members carrying placards at the Board office during which Board Of Control For Cricket In India(BCCI) President Shashank Manohar was ghearoed forced the cancellation of the much-anticipated talks today between him and Khan.
“The talks have not been called off. The dialogue will continue. Mr Manohar and Mr Khan will speak to each other in evening today and tomorrow they are coming to Delhi for another round of talks,” IPL Chairman and senior Board functionary Rajiv Shukla told PTI.
Shouting slogans against Pakistan and the PCB chairman, the Sena workers confronted Manohar, asking him not to have any ties with the neighbouring country, which they said sponsors terrorism. Waving black and saffron flags, the workers sought to know from Manohar if he would go ahead with his meeting with the PCB chief here. Sena Vibhag Pramukh Pandurang Sakpal told reporters that his party is firm that there should be no cricket matches between the two neighbouring countries.
The attack sparked condemnation with Sena’s ally BJP saying there is no place for “hooliganism” while Congress called it “abominable”. An unfazed Shiv Sena justified the action, claiming they were only reflecting the feelings of the people of this country as they were opposed to any relations with Pakistan till they stop terrorist activities. Manohar had invited Khan for talks on the much-anticipated cricket series scheduled in December.
Khan and PCB’s executive committee head Najam Sethi are in Mumbai for the meeting after discussing the planned series with BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur earlier on the sidelines of the ICC meeting in Dubai. In the recent days, Sena activists had blackened the face of former BJP strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni, Chairman of the Observer Research Foundation, over his refusal to cancel the book launch function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, prompting strong condemnation from political parties.
The Shiv Sena also forced the organisers to cancel the Mumbai concert of renowned Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali.