The Shiv Sena questioned if the BJP would label the Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh “anti-national” for opposing the World T20 match in Dharamsala as the Pakistani cricket team delayed their trip citing security concerns.
Singh had earlier voiced his concern over the Indo-Pak match, scheduled for March 19, saying the state government could not ensure security of players, and that welcoming Pakistani players on Indian soil will be disrespectful to the country’s slain soldiers.
“Virbhadra Singh has opposed this cricket match in his state. This opposition is not political and neither is it religious. This opposition is for the country as many families of slain jawans reside there. If he thinks that holding a match will be a disrespect to the martyred soldiers, will you (the BJP) label him an ‘anti-national’ and hang him for this crime?” the Sena said in an editorial piece published in its mouthpiece, Saamana.
Taking on the Centre over its stand of ensuring the security of Pakistani players in India, the BJP’s alliance partner wrote, “Will playing the cricket match stop farmers suicides in Maharashtra and other parts of the country? Will there be peace in Jammu & Kashmir? Will our soldiers be safe on borders? Will pro-Pakistan slogans stop?”
It further warned the BJP of facing people’s ire if it goes ahead with the match despite objections.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been frayed as bilateral talks were stalled last year, and the militant attack on the Pathankot airforce base in January that killed seven security personnel.
Pakistan recently sought permission to send a special investigative team to look into the Pathankot attacks from its end.
The Sena however raised objections to the government granting approval, stating it is an insult to soldiers, and that though the government has changed, Pakistan appeasement has not ceased.
“We have a very straight question to ask... we may not know much on foreign policy and maintaining relations with neighbours, but if this match does not happen, will all hell break loose? Will appeasing Pakistanis suddenly get us all the black money stacked abroad?” questioned Sena, which also took a dig at Modi’s poll promise of bringing black money to India’s coffers.