Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari cites MHA order, defends playing cricket during lockdown
Questions are being asked if Tiwari broke multiple rules by travelling to Sonipat and playing cricket during the lockdown to fight coronavirus.Updated: May 25, 2020 17:30 IST
BJP MP and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari rejected the allegations that he broke the law and social distancing norms by indulging in prohibited activities by playing a game of cricket in Sonipat, Haryana and said that the game was played following a Central government order allowing reopening of stadiums without spectators. He claimed that all social distancing norms were followed during the game.
“I have always followed social distancing, lockdown norms. MHA permitted opening of stadiums without spectators. Based on that, I went there and played. All norms were followed,” Manoj Tiwari was quoted as saying by new agency ANI.
The agency reported that Tiwari played a game of cricket at an academy in Sheikhpura of Sonipat district in violation of social distancing and government guidelines for the fourth phase of national lockdown.
Tiwari, as cited above, is relying on a government notification issued on May 17 which said sports complexes and stadia could reopen but spectators were not allowed.
“Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open; however, spectators will not be allowed,” said the MHA notification. It was widely interpreted as permission for athletes in Olympic sports to resume training without spectators. However, it was not said explicitly if any sporting activity could resume in these facilities without spectators.
The same notification also listed sports activities among mass activities that were not allowed to resume yet.
After the notification, it was reported that BCCI could consider allowing players to resume training. India cricketer Shardul Thakur became the first to resume training on Saturday, however, it is said to have miffed the cricket board since Thakur had allegedly not taken its permission.
Several reports said Tiwari did not wear a mask while playing and was also seen taking selfies with other people present at the ground.
Tiwari’s move has also come under the scanner since Delhi’s borders with Haryana are not open due to fears that the rising number of coronavirus cases in Delhi could lead to a spike in Haryana as well.
A video posted on Tiwari’s twitter account shows him playing cricket at a facility with spectators watching. However, it is not clear if the video was shot at the Sonipat game which is under question.