Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday called upon “staunch Hindus and patriotic people of India” to disrupt cricket matches between India and Pakistan due to be played in the country next month.
In a statement published in party mouthpiece Saamna, Thackeray came down heavily on home minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his “all are welcome” remark and said the matches would not be allowed till Shinde withdraws his statements.
Referring to Shinde’s statement calling upon people to forget the past and play cricket with Pakistan, Thackeray said: “If you have any shame left in you, withdraw the statement.”
None of the matches cleared by the government will be played in Maharashtra. Three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s are to be played in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
The Centre promptly brushed aside Thackeray’s threat. “We will provide foolproof security to the Pakistan cricket team,” minister of state for home RPN Singh said in Delhi, advising Thackeray to "take the game as a game only".
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “I would like to remind the Sena of 2004 when Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad, whose son married Dawood Ibrahim’s daughter, was invited to Thackeray’s residence and both Uddhav and Raj were waiting outside to greet him.’’