'Will not allow Pakistani cricket team to play in state' | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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'Will not allow Pakistani cricket team to play in state'

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray kicked off another controversy when he said that he would not allow Pakistani cricketers to play in the state.

mumbai Updated: Sep 13, 2012 01:13 IST
HT Correspondent

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray kicked off another controversy when he said that he would not allow Pakistani cricketers to play in the state.

"I will not allow them to play in Maharashtra," said Raj.

He defended his stance with the same reason he cited for not allowing Pakistani artistes to perform in India: the country was sponsoring terrorist activity and its citizens should not be allowed to perform here.

Incidentally, the Pakistani team, which plans to tour India in December 2012, has no matches scheduled in Maharashtra. Raj was accompanied by his trusted aide Shishir Shinde when he announced his decision.

Shinde was the same person who, during his stint in Shiv Sena, had dug up the Wankhede stadium pitch in 1991 protesting against a planned tour by Pakistan, leading the team to scratch the fixture altogether.

Two weeks ago, Raj had targeted singer Asha Bhosle for working with Pakistani singers in the musical programme Sur Kshetra, and warned TV channels against telecasting the show.

Raj had also accused Bhosle of being influenced by monetary considerations. However, after meeting the channel bosses, Raj withdrew his agitation.

Cricket fans are not happy with Raj's stance.

"It is sad that politicians like Raj Thackeray are mixing sports with politics. India and Pakistani cricketers play across the world but not here, and this is regrettable," said Anil Mishra, who heads a consultancy group.

Others have accused Raj of depriving the city fans of watching good cricket.