Even as the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government remain entangled in a fierce legal and verbal duel, the sports body has written to the state police requesting security at the T20 match between India and South Africa next month.
The match, to be held on October 2, will be the first T20 international at Dharamsala Cricket Stadium.
In a letter written to director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Kumar, HPCA honorary secretary Vishal Marwah said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had scheduled a T20 international at Dharamsala.
"The October 2 match between India and South Africa is going to be the inaugural T20 international at Dharamsala and we are quite enthusiastic about it," Marwah wrote.
The letter dated September 8 added that the security of the players, officials, and guests remained a major concern for the mega event and HPCA hopes for full cooperation of police administration for it.
"We would highly appreciate if you could kindly direct the police authorities at Dharamsala to convene a meeting for finalising security arrangement for the match," the letter read.
HPCA's request has come a day after chief minister Virbhadra Singh said the sports body could organise as many matches at Dharamsala stadium if it paid for the security.
"We are not against sports, but rules cannot be bent for a particular game, and fee will be charged from HPCA for the security cover," Virbhadra had said on Monday.
Dharamsala cricket stadium which figures among world's most beautiful sports arenas, so far, has hosted two one-day internationals (ODIs), first in January 2013 between India and England, and the second between India and West Indies in 2014.
HPCA spokesperson flays CM
HPCA spokesperson on Tuesday flayed chief minister Virbhadra Singh for his statement in which the latter said the government would charge for providing police security to the matches to be held at Dharamsala stadium.
"Providing security to an event and maintaining law and order is responsibility of the state," said Sharma while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday.
He accused the chief minister of creating sensations every time an event was scheduled at Dharamsala cricket stadium.
In a 2014 public interest litigation (PIL) filed before the Himachal Pradesh high court, Sanjay said, the government through under secretary (home) filed an affidavit that no charges would be levied if the matches were played between two teams representing respective countries and matches were non-commercial in nature.
The government also held that as per the Constitution, law and order was the subject matter of states and it became incumbent on state government to provide security to the international participants.
"It was a policy decision covering all matches. The chief minister should explain whether the upcoming match is an international event or not," Sharma said.
He said the CM should consult his legal advisors before issuing any statement. "He has defied a policy decision taken by his own government by saying that charges will be levied for the upcoming match," the HPCA official added.