Spectators were banned from bringing banners, posters and placards to the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati for the first T20I between India and Sri Lanka on Sunday. But there were still vocal protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with chants against the BJP chief minister present at the stadium.
Approximately 35,000 spectators were present to see India’s first international match at the venue in over a year. However, when giant screens at the stadium showed Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, finance minister Himanta Biswa and Chairman of Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) Jayanta Malla Baruah, the crowd broke into anti-CAA and anti-government slogans.
Videos surfaced on social media that showed the crowd shouting for the three leaders to ‘go back’ even as ground staff attempted to dry the pitch and the ground.
Amidst the excitement of the T20I series, the crowd chants BJP go back upon seeing Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma on the screen…
.#JNUViolence #JNUProtests #JNUattack #AmitShahResign #INDvSL #t20 #pragnews #pragnewsassam #pragnewstrending pic.twitter.com/msKPfwPeq0
— Mahamudul Hasan (@mahamudhasan331) January 5, 2020
— LiberalWho_™ (@LiberalWho_) January 5, 2020
— Raaj (@aarteas) January 5, 2020
— Anupam Bordoloi (@asomputra) January 6, 2020
India skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl, but it started raining just 15 minutes before the scheduled start. Despite the rain lasting less than an hour, the ground was not dry enough to play on. The dampness on the pitch did not allow a single ball to be bowled, much to the disappointment of the crowd. Even a hairdryer and steam iron didn’t help.
The BCCI also posted a video of the atmosphere in the stadium when the song ‘Vande Mataram’ was played.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 5, 2020
Kohli had earlier refrained from commenting on the CAA, saying he did not have enough knowledge on the topic. “Because you can say one thing and then someone can say another thing. So, I would not like to get involved in something that I don’t have total knowledge of and it’s not going to be responsible on my part to comment on it,” he said.
Protests have been on against the law in Assam since it was passed by Parliament.