The Gujarat police is taking the threat posed by the Patidar community, which has threatened to use the Rajkot ODI as a vehicle to highlight its reservation-related issues, in all seriousness and is making every effort to ensure a trouble-free tie.
The Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) stadium at Khanderi resembled a fortress with scores of armed police personnel manning the venue even though the match is scheduled on Sunday.
“The local administration has taken note of the threat the Patidar community poses to the match. More than 2500 police personnel will be deployed along with 500 private security personnel.
We have been very careful in allocating tickets and will ensure that the ticket holders’ identity cards are verified properly. We have also asked broadcasters to not televise any such demonstrations, if at all they happen in the stands,” said Niranjan Shah, the SCA secretary.
The Patidar community, which is at the centre of driving a caste-reservation campaign spearheaded by Hardik Patel, has kept Gujarat on the boil for the last few weeks. The community recently made some comments on how they want to highlight their issues by using the match as a vehicle to reach out to a wider audience.
Reports have emerged that some activists are planning to buy match tickets and engage in sloganeering and wearing T-shirts carrying strongly-worded messages.
It has also been learnt from the host association that policemen manning the approach road to the ground will closely monitor the crowd, and internet connectivity would be considerably restricted.