NEW DELHI – Even as the BCCI has heaved a sigh of relief after the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) promptly accepted its proposal to host the matches of Women’s World Cup featuring Pakistan in Cuttack, fears of widespread violence and protests in the State are also lurking large as several organisations have threatened to oppose Pakistan players landing in the State tooth and nail.
The World Cup is scheduled to begin from January 31 and the Pakistan team would arrive in the State on January 24. A day after Bajrang Dal asserted it was opposed to participation of Pakistani women cricketers in the World Cup, BJP student wing, ABVP, Saturday threatened to dig up pitches ahead of the team's matches at Cuttack next month.
Opposition to Pakistani players gained momentum with a number of organisations coming forward to oppose the women cricketers from the neighbouring country. Cuttack MP Bhartuhari Mahtab of Naveen Patnaik's BJD too disapproved the idea of allowing Pakistani cricketers to play matches in his constituency.
"This is a sensitive issue. Pakistani soldiers have beheaded our jawans along the LOC. Despite having committed such a heinous act, Pakistan have no regret for this. Under such circumstances, players from that country should not be allowed here," Mahtab told reporters. While ABVP activists demonstrated here opposing the Odisha Cricket Association's decision to welcome Pakistani players, the youth wing of Utkal Bharat, a fringe party, pledged to ensure that the women squad did not touch the soil here.
"The law and order situation will deteriorate further if OCA sticks to their plans to inviting Pakistani players to play. All our members are committed not to allow them to enter our state under any circumstances," Abhishek Joshi, President of Yuva Utkal Bharat said in a memorandum to the Commissioner of Police.