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India vs Pakistan, ICC World T20: I am not answerable to Anurag Thakur, says Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh

Virbhadra Singh rejected BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur’s charge that the state government was responsible for shifting of the match.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Updated: March 10, 2016 3:32 pm
India Pakistan, India vs Pakistan, India Pakistan World T20, T20 World Cup, World T20, Cricket News, Anurag Thakur, Virbhadra Singh, Ind Pak Dharamsala War of words between Virbhadra Singh and Anurag Thakur continues.

STATING that the decision to shift the India-Pakistan World Cup T20 match to Kolkata, from Dharamsala, had been taken by the BCCI, Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday said the state government had never opposed the match or refused to provide security.

“The government’s stand on the cricket match was very clear. We had maintained that we were fully capable of providing security and maintaining law and order. I never ever said that the government couldn’t ensure security of the Pakistani players at the stadium or in Dharamsala. At the same time, I also made it clear that the government will respect the sentiments of the martyrs and ex-servicemen,” he said.

READ: Kolkata bridges India and Pakistan

He had earlier, however, announced that it would be better if the match was shifted elsewhere keeping in view the growing opposition. On Wednesday, the chief minister also dismissed suggestions that the state would face a “setback” by the shifting of the match. “What setback? There will be no loss to the state. There are eight or nine other matches slated at Dharamshala and the government has made arrangements. It is just this match that the martyrs’ families had raised concerns. We should not hurt their feelings,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister said the government had told the Centre, during the high-level meeting which was attended by DGP Sanjay Kumar and other officials, that no obstruction would be allowed if the Pakistan team arrives at Dharamsala. He, however, added that at the same time, the government was clear that no lathi-charge or any other action against the families of the martyrs or ex-servicemen if they protest . “Our officials did not say that the government will not provide security,” the chief minister said.

He rejected BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur’s charge that the state government was responsible for shifting of the match as it did not provide security or honour its commitment made in the High Court to fulfill its constitutional duty. “I am not answerable to Anurag Thakur,” Virbhadra said, adding that he had told Thakur to talk to the martyrs families.

There was, however, hope in Dharamsala that the match would go ahead. “While there are 10 matches slated for Dharamshala but the kind of enthusiasm and craze which spectators including locals have for a India-Pakistan match is unparalleled. Hoteliers will lose business worth lakhs and lot of cancellations were done on Wednesday,” said a senior HPCA official.

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  1. Himanshu Singh
    Mar 10, 2016 at 3:34 am
    Its not Dharmshala, its India which has suffered due to this incident. We can have stani Prime Minister and other politicians visit India but not their cricket team. Even the stani hockey team was here for Champions Trophy and everything went pretty smoothly and nobody raised any concerns or objections. But when it comes to cricket we waste no opportunity in shaming our nation and bringing disrepute to it. If things continue this way, I will not be surprised if ICC decides not give India hosting rights for any multinational tournament. It is India as a nation that has failed to ure ICC that it can provide adequate security to all visiting teams including stan. As an Indian I feel ashamed that such petty politics by a very small group sick people is tarnishing the image of my country at a global forum.
    1. R
      Rajat Agarwal
      Mar 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm
      I don't understand why is it so necessary to play cricket with stan, except the fact that it would generate a lot of TRPs, as people in India (especially) will ociate watching the match with "nationalism". BCCI is a private club and Cricket is business, there is no need to be so emotional over it.
      1. C
        Mar 10, 2016 at 10:51 am
        Its politics becuase of which we (fans of this game) are suffering. Issue is not only this match, but the way BCCI operates is very disgusting and media rarely highlights that. Why people like Sharad Pawar, Rajiv Shukla and Anurag Thakur are managing these bodies? No tickets for Public, Lack of Transparancy, One way communication etc etc...BCCI is sports body and should be away from politicians. Priority should be given to fans to witness these games instead of majority chunk kept for clubs and sponsors who are affiliated to policitians more then the game...Lodha committee report is spot on that BCCI should be policitian free body
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