Shiv Sena storms BCCI HQ to protest Indo-Pak cricket meeting

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MUMBAI: A meeting between Pakistan and India’s cricket boards officials was cancelled on Monday after Shiv Sena workers stormed the Mumbai office of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shahryar Khan and the head of the PCB’s executive committee Najam Sethi had arrived in India on Sunday to hold talks with BCCI in a bid to finalise the India-Pakistan cricket series in December.

However, according to NDTV, the Hindu right-wing party activists crashed through the gates of the office in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding Shahryar and Sethi’s immediate return.

Activists could be seen entering Manohar’s office and crowding around his desk, shouting slogans and appearing determined to stop him from meeting the Pakistan cricket board chief. At least 10 protesters were arrested.

The Shiv Sena, which rules Maharashtra in alliance with the BJP, says it will not allow any engagement with Pakistan.

However, PCB Chairman Shahryar was still optimistic despite the incident. Talking to the Indian media, Shahryar said, “I was invited by Shashank here and the mindset is that we have signed an MoU and we should honour it.”

Further, reacting to the incident, former PCB chairman Khalid Mehmood regretted the incident saying the Shiv Sena activists also resorted to acts of violence in the past.

The Congress condemned the attack on BCCI. “BCCI is a responsible body and will not do anything against national interest. Cricketing decisions should be left to BCCI. Cricket is a gentleman’s man and the spirit of the game expects same generosity and tolerance from those who love the game,” tweeted Congress lawmaker Rajeev Shukla, who served as BCCI vice president in the past.

Shaharyar and Sethi were scheduled to meet Manohar, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and other government officials to discuss Pakistan, India bilateral series scheduled for December in UAE.

Last week, Shiv Sena’s protests forced the cancellation of legendary Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert. Further, the Hindu right-wing party activists  threw black paint on columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni for organising the launch of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch.

The Indian and Pakistani boards had signed a pact for six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, beginning with Pakistan’s home series in December.

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