Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Congress on Sunday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to either cancel the proposed India vs Pakistan ICC World Twenty20 match slated for March 19 at Dharamsala or shift the game elsewhere. (India-Pakistan Game Will be High-Scoring, Says HPCA Curator)
The executive of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee also criticised the secretary of BCCI and BJP MP Anurag Thakur for the decision to hold the match in Dharamsala. (PCB Chief Says ICC Will Levy Fine if They Pull Out of World T20)
“BCCI should either cancel or shift the match to other state to honour the sentiments of families of martyrs,” HPCC president Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said.
Sukhu also demanded that 50 percent income from eight other matches to be played at Dharamsala be disbursed among the kins of those who lost their lives in successive wars against Pakistan or during anti-terror operations.
He said that Kangra is home to a large number of soldiers, including Kargil War heroes like captain Vikram Batra and captain Saurabh Kalia and a war memorial is located close to the Dharamsala stadium.
“Our party is not against holding other World Cup matches but only opposing the one against Pakistan as it would hurt the sentiments of the people, especially the families of martyrs,” he said.
He said that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi would visit the state in April during which he would address major rallies and meetings in all four parliamentary constituencies.
Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh ex-servicemen league, which has been opposing the match, has now shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prevail upon the BCCI.
President of the league Vijay Singh Mankotia, in his letter to the prime minister said that since the people are mourning the deaths of their brave soldiers, they would ‘relish’ the slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ by Pakistani supporters during the match.
“When the Indo-Pak talks can be cancelled after the terror attack (Pathankot), why not the cricket match,” Mankotia said, adding that over 1 lakh ex-servicemen would launch an agitation to prevent the Pakistani team from entering Dharamsala.
Mankotia said that close on the heels of the Pathankot attack, two more Himachali jawans were killed during an encounter in Pulwama.
Notably, former chief minister and BJP MP Shanta Kumar and former BJP MLA Rakesh Pathania have also opposed the match.