A keenly-awaited clash between India and Pakistan in the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup to be played in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh might just not happen, or be moved to another city.
According to Indian media reports, Himachal Pradesh Congress on Sunday asked the BCCI to either cancel the proposed India-Pakistan fixture slated for March 19 at Dharamsala or shift the venue to another city.
The executive of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee also criticised the secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and BJP MP Anurag Thakur for the decision to hold the match in Dharamsala.
Leaders of the Congress party, which rules the state, are asking the Indian cricket board to cancel the match in order to “respect sentiments” of family members of those killed in the 2 January terrorist attack on the nearby Pathankot air base.
At the least, the game should be played elsewhere, the politicians have told the BCCI. The local unit of the Congress party has also threatened to stage protests to halt the match.
“In case the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) still does not call off the match, the Congress protest will only intensify and the match will not be allowed at any cost,” Chief Minister Vidharba Singh was quoted as saying by an Indian newspaper.
The protest is an unusual one in the context of India-Pakistan sports. It is typically Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the right-wing Shiv Sena that try to stop sports encounters. But this time, both the BJP and the Congress are seeking to block the match.
Former BJP lawmaker Rakesh Pathania has joined the call against the match and former chief minister Shanta Kumar, of the BJP, has even written to Modi asking for the match to be shifted.