The Board of Control for Cricket in India have criticised authorities in Himachal Pradesh after the latter refused to provide security for the upcoming India-Pakistan World T20 tie, citing an attack on an Indian army base in January.
Virbhadra Singh, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister, said that the match should be moved to another venue out of respect for the “martyrs” killed in the assault by Pakistani militants on an Indian Air Force base in neighbouring Punjab.
He has threatened not to provide security for Pakistan’s players at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala, where the match is due to take place on March 19.
“We are not willing to provide security for the match,” a senior state government official said on condition of anonymity. “It’s just one match that we are bothered about because it involves Pakistan and our decision reflects the sentiments of the people of Himachal.”
Anurag Thakur, secretary of the BCCI, accused the state of playing politics and said the country regularly provided security for Pakistani sportsmen and women. Coincidentally, Thakur is also the president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.
“The venues of the World Cup matches were decided one year ago, the allotment of matches was decided six months ago,” said Thakur on Tuesday (March 1). “By claiming that you cannot provide security, you are only giving credence to Pakistani claims that there is a security threat to their team in India. It’s about the country’s image.”
Pakistan have already voiced concerns about security in India, saying there were specific threats from Hindu activists who forced the cancellation of a meeting between cricket officials from the two countries in Mumbai last October.
The arch south Asian rivals have not played a bilateral series for more than three years amid diplomatic tensions.
Those were worsened by the January attack on the Pathankot airbase, which came days after Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, made a surprise peacemaking visit to Pakistan in December.