India-Pak cricket chiefs meet secretly after Sena threat

RSTV Bureau
Mumbai: BCCI President, Shashank Manohar coming out from the BCCI office with police security after Shiv Sena workers stormed the BCCI office and protested against the potential series between Pakistan and India in Mumbai on October 19, 2015.  Photo - PTI

Mumbai: BCCI President, Shashank Manohar coming out from the BCCI office with police security after Shiv Sena workers stormed the BCCI office and protested against the potential series between Pakistan and India in Mumbai on October 19, 2015.
Photo – PTI

India-Pakistan cricket talks were called off for the day on Monday morning after Shiv Sena protested in Mumbai. However, the cricket board chiefs of both India and Pakistan met secretly in the afternoon after Sena disrupted their morning meeting. And another round of talks on the proposed bilateral series have now been rescheduled to be held in Delhi on Tuesday.

In the morning, over a hundred Sena protestors barged into the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai where BCCI President Shashank Manohar and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shahryar Khan were scheduled to hold talks for a bilateral series between the two countries.

“The talks have not been called off. Mr Manohar and Mr Khan will speak to each other in evening today and tomorrow they are coming to Delhi for another round of talks,” IPL Chairman and senior Board functionary Rajiv Shukla told PTI in New Delhi on Monday morning.

“In no way, the dialogue will be stopped. BCCI has never compromised with national interests,” Shukla added.

10 Sena workers were arrested and later let out on bail. They were slapped with charges of unlawful assembly and violating Police Commissioner’s order to refrain from such a gathering.

In the morning, the protestors were initially shouting slogans and waving black and saffron flags outside the BCCI office. They then forcefully barged into the headquarters, gheraoed Shashank Manohar and threatened him not to have any cricket ties with Pakistan.

Sena Vibhag Pramukh Pandurang Sakpal told reporters that his party was firm about its decision that it was not allow cricketing ties with Pakistan.

“The government will do its job, we will do ours… What we did today is Sena’s stance,”said Sakpal.

An unfazed Shiv Sena justified the action, claiming they were only reflecting the feelings of the people of this country as they were opposed to any relations with Pakistan till they stop terrorist activities.

Shashank Manohar had invited Shahryar Khan for talks on the much-anticipated series scheduled in December.

Khan and PCB’s executive committee head Najam Sethi are in Mumbai for the meeting after they discussed a bilateral India-Pakistan series with BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur on the sidelines of the ICC meeting in Dubai.

Earlier, Thakur had assured PCB that a final decision would be taken later this month and invited their officials to visit India on behalf of Shashank Manohar.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that the two neighbours could play either a bilateral series in the UAE or agree to a possible triangular series in December along with Bangladesh.

Shiv Sena has been under fire in the last couple of weeks. Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts in Mumbai and Pune were called off after Sena threatened. Sena also faced a lot of flak for the ink-attack on former BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni.

Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch was held only amid tight security by the state government after the ink-attack on the organiser Sudheendra Kulkarni. On the morning of the book launch, Kulkarni was smeared with black ink outside his house by Shiv Sena protesters.

(With inputs from PTI)