World T20: Rajnath assures security to Pakistan team
New Delhi: Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the Pakistan cricket team will be provided adequate security during their World Twenty20 campaign in India.
The Pakistan government had demanded a written assurance from India on providing foolproof security to Pakistan players after protests by serving and retired soldiers of the Indian Army and political leaders in Himachal Pradesh forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to shift the group match against hosts India from Dharamsala to Kolkata.
Rajnath however, reiterated the government’s stand that all participating teams will be protected by the government.
“Whosoever will come to India will be secured,” Rajnath told reporters.
Senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official Rajeev Shukla also said that the Indian board will provide adequate security to all the competing teams since the host nation is responsible for the safety and security of visiting players and officials.
“I am giving the assurance that foolproof security would be provided to them. We are supposed to speak to the concerned state government and to the district administration. We are supposed to provide the security. We will be getting in touch with them. And our entire team is working in coordination with the local administration. So, security and safety will be taken care of,” Shukla told mediapersons here.
“Now, Pakistan should not insist on this particular thing that they want something on writing. That’s between the two governments and I can’t say on that. But I think they should send their team. The entire security responsibility goes on the host board. So, why Pakistan Cricket Board is concerned about it. They wanted their venue to be shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata that has been done. Now, I think they should not be concerned about the safety and the security of their players. That’s the responsibility of the BCCI,” he added.
“The BCCI will talk to concerned government, local administration, state government as well as Government of India to provide foolproof security to all the players.”
The Pakistan team were originally scheduled to depart for India on Tuesday evening. But the departure was delayed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as they awaited the report of a three-member team sent to review security arrangements in India.
After the ICC announced on Wednesday that the India-Pakistan match has been shunted out of Dharamsala, the PCB had said on Thursday that the team will be allowed to leave for the World T20 early on Friday. But the team’s departure was further postponed later on Thursday when the Pakistan government insisted on written assurances from the Indian authorities.