New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) Putting an end to speculations, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur here on Monday confirmed that the talks about reviving ties with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have been cancelled. PCB chief Shahryar Khan was to meet newly elected BCCI president Shashank Manohar to discuss the resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries before around 70 Shiv Sena activists demonstrated at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai, asking Manohar to cancel the talks.
In response to the protest by Sena, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee offered the BCCI to hold the meeting with the PCB chief in Kolkata. In the current scenario, rumours also spread that the meeting might be shifted to the national capital where BCCI’s All-India Senior Selection Committee also met on Monday to announce the team for the remaining matches of the on-going South Africa series.
“Officially there is no meeting scheduled in New Delhi. If the talks happen, they will take place in Mumbai at the BCCI headquarters. The BCCI and PCB have some outstanding issues and the PCB chief wanted to meet the BCCI president to discuss those things but those have been cancelled now,” Thakur told reporters. “I condemn this attack because you cannot barge into the BCCI office and force cancellation of the talks. In a democracy, you can protest but you can do it on the streets but you can’t barge into anyone’s office, home or headquarters,” said Thakur, who is a Lok Sabha member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Earlier in the day, Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla also disapproved the protest that was staged at the BCCI president’s office, which is located in the Wankhede Stadium complex.
The Shiv Sainiks carried a black flag and shouted slogans of “Pakistan murdabad” and “Shashank Manohar murdabad”. Later, the police detained more than two dozen protesting Sena activists and whisked them away as Manohar quietly watched from his office. One of the protesters said that Shiv Sena would not permit any cricketing relations between India and Pakistan until the latter stopped the killing of Indian soldiers and civilians at the border. This is the second major protest within a fortnight by the Shiv Sena against Pakistan. Around 10 days back, Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s scheduled concerts in Mumbai and Pune were forced to be cancelled following Sena’s strong opposition.
Last Monday, Sena activists blackened the face of veteran journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni in an attempt to force him to cancel a book launch function of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. The move attracted condemnation but following intervention by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the book release function passed off peacefully.