India promises tight security for upcoming series against Pakistan

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Indian Government on Monday said security for the upcoming bilateral series against Pakistan would be up to the mark and tight despite a threat by the Shiv Sena to disrupt the event.

In an editorial for Shiv Sena`s mouthpiece and vernacular newspaper ``Samna``, party chief, Bal Thackeray slammed Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for saying that ``we should forget the past and play cricket with Pakistan``.

Thackeray in his editorial urged the people of the country to obstruct the cricket matches, in all the cities they are scheduled.

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on November 1 that India and Pakistan will resume bilateral cricket ties with Twenty20 international in Bangalore on Christmas Day.

The two teams will play a second T20 match in Ahmedabad before taking part in three one-day internationals in Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi, the BCCI said in a statement.

Dealing with this latest threat from the Shiv Sena, Minister of State for Home Kunwar Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh said security arrangements for the series would be detailed and top notch.

"First of all, sports should not be mixed with politics. Secondly, as far as security is concerned, if any team or any player comes to play in India, there security would be our top priority and there would be no shortfall in it," said Singh.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rubbished off such threats by the Shiv Sena.

BCCI vice president, Rajiv Shukla said that Shiv Sena had issued similar threats in the past but bilateral series between the two teams had continued smoothly.

"I don`t think much importance should be accorded to these kinds of statements or editorials. Because in past also despite of these threats, several Indo-Pak series have taken place and they went on very smoothly, there was no problem, no security impediments and the series had been conducted in a very smooth manner. So I don`t see any problem for the forthcoming series also," said Shukla.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the politics and sports should not be mixed, and although Pakistan was behind the Mumbai attacks, militancy and cricket cannot be related.

BJP vice president, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "As far as sports in concerned, they have been going on and we cannot relate militancy and sports together. Matches between India and Pakistan have been played before and I don`t think by obstructing cricket matches militancy will stop."

Shiv Sena lawmaker Sanjay Raut said: "Such a series is an insult to the martyrs of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Hence, no match with Pakistan has been scheduled in Maharashtra, we won`t even allow it also and no one even dared to schedule it also. But wherever matches are scheduled elsewhere in the country, Bal Thackeray has asked the people of those states to throw off these matches, and appealed to their patriotic spirit to show this government and this traitor cricket board that our love for this country is still intact."

Bilateral cricket between the nuclear-armed neighbours were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed. India blames Pakistan-based militants for the incident.

The last series between the two sides was Pakistan`s tour of India in 2007 although Pakistan travelled to India to play the 50 overs World Cup semi-final in Mohali last year.