Moved by heart-rendering scenes at Pathankot martyr Havaldar Sanjeevan Rana’s home, Himachal Pradesh transport minister G S Bali on Tuesday asked the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) to take a call on whether the World T20 match between India and Pakistan should be held at Dharamshala.
The transport minister said that during Rana’s cremation, he noted people’s anger against Pakistan and heard a lot of them raising questions about the match against neighbours on Himachal’s soil.
“Personally, I am not against the cricket match. But, the match is not a friendly match between two nations. It’s purely a commercial event. Just imagine how Rana’s family and the people of Himachal Pradesh will control their emotions if Pakistan – which has inflicted serious wounds — sends its cricket team to play at Dharamshala,” Bali wrote on his Facebook page.
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While addressing the media, Bali suggested that all the earnings from the match should go to the Army’s welfare fund for the Pathankot martyr, if at all the match was to be held at Dharamshala .
“I am leaving it all to Anurag Thakur, who is the BCCI secretary and HPCA president to take a decision whether to hold the match or call it off. If he decides not to cancel the match, then funds should be used only for the martyrs ‘s families. It’s he (Anurag) who has to clarify whether sentiments of the martyrs’ families or supreme sacrifice of two jawans holds some value vis-a-vis commercial cricket,” Bali said.
When asked why he did seek a ban on the match in the wake of the Pathankot attack, Bali said “some social organisations and also locals have demanded this (ban). But, I have said what as a sitting cabinet minister had to say”.
The minister said the families of two martyrs – Hav Rana from Shahpur and Hav Jagdish Chand of Chamba district — have been given Rs 20 lakh each on Tuesday . “As a token of respect, I have also offered free travel facility for the widows of both jawans in HRTC,” he added.
The India-Pakistan match is slated to be held between the two countries on March 19.