Pay no heed to threats from Shiv Sena, VHP: Shinde
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday promised tight security for the forthcoming bilateral cricket series against Pakistan, adding that no attention should be given to the threat by Hindu radical outfit, Shiv Sena to crunch the series.
India and Pakistan will resume bilateral cricket ties with a Twenty20 international in Bangalore on Christmas Day, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on November 1.
In an editorial for Shiv Sena's mouthpiece and vernacular newspaper 'Samna', party chief, Bal Thackeray slammed Interior Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde for saying that 'we should forget the past and play cricket with Pakistan'.
Thackeray in his editorial urged the people of the country to obstruct the cricket matches, in all the cities they are scheduled.
Speaking to mediapersons in New Delhi, Shinde reiterated that sporting and cultural ties with it's nuclear-armed neighbour or any other country should not be depleted and this series should not be connected to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
"Either Bal Thackeray or anyone else, we are not worried about such threats, the security arrangements will be in place. I have said this earlier, our view in the exchange of sports and cultural programmes should be completely different. People from any part of the world can come and play to improve the relations. Some people are trying to relate this series to 26/11. This is completely wrong," said Shinde.
BCCI also said that the two teams would play a second T20 match in Ahmedabad before taking part in three one-day internationals in Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi.
Bilateral cricket between the nuclear-armed neighbours were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed. India blames Pakistan-based militants for the incident.
Shinde also spoke about the proposed visit of his Pakistani counterpart, Rehman Malik to India.
"The tentative dates are November 22 or 23. We are still discussing the final dates. We are yet to give our final response to them. After we do that, they will finalise and then make his visit," Shinde added.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the past 65 years and already fragile relations were further strained since the carnage when gunmen attacked two upmarket hotels, a busy railway terminal and a fashionable cafe in Mumbai.
The last series between the two sides was Pakistan's tour of India in 2007 although Pakistan travelled to India to play the 50 overs World Cup semi-final in Mohali last year.