Thackeray warns against Indo-Pak matches politics


In a veiled threat to Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde over his remark “let bygones be” in the context of the resumption of Indo-Pakistan cricketing ties, ailing Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray said in party mouthpiece Saamna that the “self-respecting and patriotic Hindus will not allow the matches to happen where they are scheduled” if the minister did not withdraw his remark.
“Shinde saheb, if you have any shame, take your statement back or self-respecting and patriotic Hindus will not allow the matches to happen where they are scheduled,” Thackeray was quoted as saying in Saamna.
Maintaining his strong opposition to the tour by the Pakistani cricket team to India, Shiv Sena Chief had on Thursday said it was a matter of “national shame”. “The Pakistan team will be playing matches at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. At one point or the other, Pak terrorists have attacked these cities,” he had said.
“The feet of Pakistani players won’t touch Maharashtra but their tour of these cities is a matter of national shame,” he added, in an editorial in Saamna. Thackeray also flayed BCCI, saying “it was betraying the country for sake of money” and our cricketers were part of the betrayal.
Referring to Pakistan’s role in 26/11 and Parliament attacks, Thackeray said playing against Pakistani cricketers was an insult to India’s martyred jawans. Thackeray also criticised Shinde, saying he had “offered his services to Pakistan” by giving green signal for the Pak tour to India. “Except for Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, no one opposed playing cricket with Pakistan,” he said.
Responding, Shinde on Friday said that sports should be kept free of politics and that Pakistan cricket team’s tour in the country next month should be welcomed. “Any player from anywhere can come to India and play here. We cannot restrict….We must have friendly relations….what has happened in the past, all the time we should not repeat it,” Shinde told reporters after the passing-out parade of IPS trainees at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy.
To a question about opposition of Shiv Sena and MNS to the tour, Shinde said, “Sportsmanship should be maintained. Cricket as a sport is certainly welcome. It should be free from politics.” He said if any meeting took place on the sidelines of the upcoming meet of Interpol in Rome (from November 5), he would take up visa issues with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.


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