Bal Thackeray flays Shinde for allowing in Pak cricketers

Mumbai, Nov 5: Ailing Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray lashed out at Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde over the latter's remark "let bygones be" in the context of resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan. Thackeray said in his party's mouthpiece Saamna that self-respecting and patriotic Hindus would not allow the matches to occur in venues where they were scheduled if Shinde did not withdraw his remark.

"Shinde saheb, if you have any shame, take your statement back or self-respecting and patriotic Hindus will not allow the matches to happen where they are scheduled," Thackeray was quoted as saying in Saamna.

The Shiv Sena had said on Thursday that the Pakistan cricket team's tour to India was a matter of national shame for all Indians. The Pakistan team is scheduled to play two T-20 and three one-day internationals in India between Dec 25, 2012 and Jan 6, 2013. The matches will be played at Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi.

Thackeray said although the itinerary did not include Maharashtra, but yet the Pakistani cricketers' tour of the other cities was a matter of national humiliation. He slammed the BCCI, saying the latter was betraying the nation for monetary gains and that the Indian cricketers, too, were part of the betrayal.

Referring to Pakistan's role in the 2001 Parliament attack and Mumbai attacks of 2008, the Sena patriarch said playing against Pakistan was an insult to the country's martyred jawans. Thackeray flayed Shinde, saying the latter offered his services to Pakistan by allowing the tour to go ahead. He said none except Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar opposed playing cricket with Pakistan.

The Union Home Minister, in his response, said sports should be kept free from politics and Pakistan's cricketers should be welcomed in India. He said we should repeat the past events all the time. The minister was at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy while telling this to the reporters following the passing-out parade of IPS trainees.

The minister also said that if any meeting occurred on the sidelines of the Interpol meeting in Rome starting on Monday, he would take up the visa issues with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.

OneIndia News

(With PTI inputs)

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