Former India captain and Bengal cricket boss Sourav Ganguly on Saturday said a decision would be taken soon on removal of Pakistan cricketers’ photographs, including that of PM Imran Khan, from the walls of Eden Gardens in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.
Ganguly’s comment came after BJP’s youth wing workers protested in front of the Eden Gardens, seeking removal of photographs of Imran and other Pakistani cricketers from the walls of the stadium.
At least 64 activists of BJP youth wing were arrested for staging protest in front of the iconic Eden Gardens, a senior police officer said. They were later released on bail.
“We are working on it. There will be a decision soon,” Ganguly told reporters when asked about the removal of photos.
The state cricket associations of Vidarbha, Punjab and Rajasthan have already removed pictures of Pakistan cricketers in the aftermath of the terror attack which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel. Pakistan-based terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad, has claims responsibility of the attack.
Ganguly had earlier backed a complete boycott of cricketing ties with Pakistan, saying not playing the arch-rivals in the upcoming World Cup won’t have much of an impact on the Indian team’s campaign at the mega event in May-July.
Days later, Sachin Tendulkar said he would ‘hate’ to give away two points to Pakistan by not playing in the World Cup and India should rather beat them again in the showpiece event to maintain their unbeaten record over the arch-rivals.
“He wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup so…he wants two points I want the World Cup. Whichever way you look at it,” Ganguly said, reacting to Tendulkar’s comments.
Eden Gardens has photographs of Imran, Wasim Akram and others kept in non-public areas of the stadium. Former and current cricketers have expressed varied opinions on severing cricketing ties with Pakistan.
Many ministers of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, including former Bengal captain Lakshmi Ratna Shukla, hit out at BJP for trying to divert nation’s attention from terrorism.
“We are more keen on removing terrorism from the world rather than pulling down photographs (of sportspersons). The BJP is trying to divert the attention from the current issue of terror attack. This is clear politics going on in the country,” Shukla said.
State Municipal minister and city mayor Firhad Hakim when contacted said people should not confuse politics with sports and culture.
Former cricketer and current Bengal coach Arun Lal said that the country was going through an emotional time and countrymen were venting out their feelings in different ways.
“I can understand the feelings of my countrymen. I also share the same. This is a very emotional time. We have lost some of our brave brothers and obviously the country is hurt. But we also must understand that sports is not politics,” Lal said.