Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, who has long opposed India-Pakistan cricket ties, Monday asked party activists “not to permit” the forthcoming matches between the two countries anywhere in India.
In a front-page appeal in the party mouthpiece Saamna, the 86-year-old leader also lashed out at Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his statement “to forget the past” and play cricket with Pakistan.
The proposed Pakistani tour in India begins Dec 25. The series would comprise three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s.
“Mr. Shinde, why are you taking this immature step of playing cricket with Pakistan? How can you say that we should forget the past? How and why should we forget the past?” Thackeray questioned.
He referred to the 26/11 terror strike and other attacks in different parts of the country.
The Sena chief said that although he was bedridden, his blood boiled at Shinde’s statement and the planned cricket matches in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. He had earlier termed them as “a national shame”.
He pointed out that Maharashtra government has already dismissed the mercy petition of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman caught alive after the Nov 26-28 terror siege of Mumbai four years ago, and now the central government should also reject it.
He lamented that it was India’s misfortune to get such “immature leadership”.
Last week, Thackeray had termed the BCCI’s decision to go ahead with the India-Pakistan cricket matches “as betrayal” of the country for money and Indian cricketers were part of that betrayal.
Incidentally, even his nephew, Raj Thackeray of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has opposed the forthcoming Pakistan cricket tour in India.