Union sports minister Anurag Thakur said on Friday that bilateral cricket matches between India and Pakistan would not resume until the neighbouring country ceases its support for terrorists. But the Opposition questioned him about the upcoming World Cup match between the arch-rivals.
Thakur’s statement follows the ongoing encounter in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir in which four security personnel were killed.
The Union minister said, “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had decided long ago that we would not engage in bilateral matches with Pakistan until they put an end to terrorism, cross-border attacks, and infiltration. I believe the sentiments of our nation and its citizens align with this stance.”
However, Thakur’s statement drew swift comments from the Opposition with Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questioning about the status of the upcoming World Cup match between India and Pakistan scheduled to take place at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The arch-rivals are set to clash in a World Cup group fixture match on October 14.
Taking to X, Chaturvedi asked, “Will the World Cup Match between the two scheduled to be held in Ahmedabad be considered bilateral and be cancelled in respect of the sentiment of the nation? He should clarify that as a minister and so should BCCI.”
Nation mourns the loss of its four security personnel
Colonel Manpreet Singh, who served as the commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Indian Army, along with Major Ashish Dhonchak and deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat succumbed to injuries sustained during an encounter with terrorists in Gadole, in the Kokernag area of South Kashmir. Another soldier, who was part of the counter-terrorism operation, also lost his life later.
‘Cancel India vs. Pakistan cricket matches’
Following the encounter, there has been a renewed call from some quarters to sever all ties with Pakistan, including international sports events, especially cricket matches between the two nations.
The last bilateral series between India and Pakistan took place in 2012-13. Since then, both countries have only faced each other in ICC events and the Asia Cup.
Initially, the ongoing Asia Cup was supposed to be hosted exclusively by Pakistan. However, due to India’s decision not to visit Pakistan, a compromise was reached to include Sri Lanka as an additional venue. Consequently, the Asia Cup is currently being held, with some matches taking place in Pakistan and the remaining, all Indian matches, being held in the island nation.
Anantnag encounter continues
The ongoing gunfight between a combined team of security personnel from the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police and terrorists in the Kokernag area of the Anantnag district has now entered its third consecutive day. Drones and quadcopters were deployed on Friday to locate and neutralise the gunmen.