Tight security for cricket matches

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Captains of South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia women's cricket teams at a joint press conference in Cuttack on Thursday.— Photo PTI
Captains of South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia women's cricket teams at a joint press conference in Cuttack on Thursday.— Photo PTI

Even as they are confined to the premises of a fortified Barabati stadium ever since they arrived here on Sunday evening, the Pakistan women cricketers would observe one minute silence and offer prayers for the two Indian jawans—who were allegedly beheaded at LoC—just before the start of their World Cup campaign against Australia here on Friday morning.

The proposal to offer silent prayers in memory of the jawans was given by the host Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) to assuage the feelings of everybody over the heightened situation between the two neighbouring countries and the same was accepted by the Pakistan team management. While it could not be immediately confirmed from the Pakistan team management whether their players are participating in the silent prayer on Friday, OCA sources quoting Pakistan management confirmed the same to this correspondent.

“The Pakistan team management promptly accepted our proposal of observance of silent prayers by both the team members just before the start of the opening match here on Friday,” informed OCA secretary Asirbad Behera adding that he is no less patriotic than the protestors who are opposing the presence of Pakistan players and threat to disrupt an international event.

While Pakistan players would take on the mighty Australians in their tournament opener at Barabati stadium, the Kiwis will take on the Protease at a private engineering college ground in Tangi, about 25 km. from here. The State police have made elaborate security arrangements for both the matches. Earlier in the day, the captains of all the four teams of the group had a photo session at Barabati stadium before the teams had net practices at their respective grounds. Speaking to newsmen, the captains promised good matches and expressed their satisfaction over the wicket, outfield and grounds at both the venues.

BJP protest

After the turn of fringe outfits, the members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday staged a protest demonstration in Cuttack city demanding to stop ‘cricket diplomacy’ with Pakistan. Holding placards and shouting slogans against the barbaric act of Pakistan army in beheading the Indian jawans, around 500 BJP workers led by their State general secretary Nayan Mohanty marched towards the Barabati stadium. They were however; stopped by the police about 200 mts away from the stadium and following a scuffle between the cops and protestors, at least 150 BJP workers were taken into preventive custody.

They were released in the evening. Right-wing Hindu outfits like Bajrang Dal and ABVP are also likely to demonstrate outside the stadium on Friday, intelligence sources said on Thursday.



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