Urges political parties, particularly the Shiv Sena, not to mix sports with the 26/11 attacks

Urging political parties, particularly the Shiv Sena, not to mix sports with politics, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday said the Union government would provide the “best possible security” to the visiting Pakistan cricket team and visitors from the neighbouring country.

“When cricketers from other countries come to India, not only Pakistan, it is our duty to protect them. We will discuss and provide best possible security…we are going to be very alert,” he told journalists here when asked about Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s threat to disrupt limited-over cricket match series between the two nations that begins in December this year.

Much-awaited event

Urging all political parties to support the much-awaited sporting event, Mr. Shinde said: “We should not mix sports and culture with politics … there should be different views. This series will pave the way for the revival of better ties between the two countries.”

Asserting that spectators and all match venues would have foolproof security arrangements, Mr. Shinde said it was wrong to mix the cricket series with the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that were carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba and nationals of the neighbouring country.

Notably, Mr. Bal Thackeray is strongly opposing resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan and has asked “staunch Hindus and patriotic people of India” to disrupt matches that will be played in December this year and January next year. He had also lambasted Mr. Shinde for his “forget the past” statement while referring to the cricket series. India severed sporting ties with Pakistan post-26/11. Both the nations have not played a bilateral series after 2007 when the Pakistan team had toured India. The last time India played Pakistan was in the World Cup semi-final match in Mohali last year where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his then Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani were among the high-profile gathering of spectators.

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