Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) on Thursday requested Patidars not to use the India-South Africa one-day international (ODI) match to be played in Rajkot as a platform for their agitation.
“There are reports to use this platform ( of the India-Sought Africa ODI) for their agitation. But I request them not to do so as this is not a platform to do such activity,” Niranjan Shah, honorary secretary of SCA said at a press conference at SCA Stadium in Khanderi village on the outskirts of the city.
Rajkot is going to host the third ODI between India and South Africa of the Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela series on October 18. However, leaders of Patidars or Patels agitating for OCB status and quota in jobs in the state have announced that they will protest inside the stadium during the match to send out a message to global audience. Patidar leaders had held a meeting in Rajkot on Wednesday and repeated their announcement.
But the SCA secretary requested Patidars to spar the event. “This platform is not for agitation. It is for sport. We shall seek photocopies of identity cards of those who come to buy tickets for the match. I feel, this will be a normal match with a little bit more precaution,” Shah further said.
He said that the SCA was more alert after disturbance at India-South Africa T20 International in Cuttak on Sunday where spectators threw water bottles on the outfield. Shah added that they will demand identity proof from the spectators for the first time. “For security reason, we shall demand identity proof from ticket-buyers. Every ticket will be numbered. This is a precautionary measure. We shall blacklist those spectators who play mischief inside the stadium.” said Shah.
Incidentally, Rajkot Rural police had said on Wednesday that men from Local Intelligence Branch (LIB) will be stationed at ticket window on Race Course and they will seek photo identity proof of those buying tickets and keep their records.
In response to a question as to who had decided to make furnishing identity proof mandatory, Shah said, “We had held a meeting with them (police) and they suggested it. So we are complying with it.”
The SCA stadium has capacity to seat around 29,000 spectators. The secretary added that Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel was expected to attend the match.