Mumbai: Ailing Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray has strongly opposed the forthcoming India, Pakistan match series, scheduled to begin from December 25, and slammed the apex body for the sport and the Centre for giving a go ahead to it.
In an editorial published in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, the 86-year-old leader warned that his party won`t allow the upcoming series, while castigating the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government as “an enemy of national pride” for giving the green signal to the tour.
The Sena chief came down heavily on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), accusing it of “betraying the country for the sake of money” and making Indian cricketers a part of that process of betrayal.
“Except for Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, no cricketer has opposed playing cricket with Pakistan,” Thackeray said.
Alluding to Pakistan’s role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike and the 2001 Parliament attack, Thackeray said allowing Pakistan cricketers to play on Indian soil was tantamount to insulting the martyred jawans.
“By allowing them to play, we are not valuing the blood spilled by them (Indian soldiers) in our battles against Pakistani aggression,” he wrote in the article.
He also censured Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, by saying , “Shinde has offered his services to Pakistan by giving the green signal to the tour.”
In October 1991, the Sena had dug up the pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium to protest against an India-Pakistan match scheduled to be held there.
Interestingly, Shiv Sena founder’s nephew and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president has also vehemently expressed his opposition to the Pakistan cricket team’s tour to the country next month.
With Agency Inputs