Former India captain and Cricket Association of Bengal chief Sourav Ganguly on Saturday said a decision would be taken on the removal of Pakistan cricketers’ photographs, including that of prime minister Imran Khan, from the walls of Eden Gardens in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.
Ganguly’s comment came after Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing workers protested in front of the Eden Gardens, seeking removal of photographs of Imran and other Pakistan cricketers from the walls of the stadium.
At least 64 activists of BJP youth wing were arrested for staging protest in front of the iconic Eden Gardens, a senior police official was quoted as saying by PTI.
They were later released on bail. “We are working on it. There will be a decision soon,” Ganguly told reporters when asked about the removal of photos.
The state cricket associations of Vidarbha, Punjab and Rajasthan have already removed pictures of Pakistan cricketers in the aftermath of the terror attack which killed more than 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.
Ganguly had earlier backed a complete boycott of cricketing ties with Pakistan. Yesterday, Sachin Tendulkar said he would hate to give away two points to Pakistan by not playing in the World Cup.
“He wants two points against Pakistan, I want the World Cup so...he wants two points I want the World Cup. Whichever way you look at it,” Ganguly said, reacting to Tendulkar’s comments.
Eden Gardens has photographs of Imran, Wasim Akram and others kept in non-public areas of the stadium. Former and current cricketers have expressed varied opinions on severing cricketing ties with Pakistan.
Many ministers of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, including former Bengal captain Lakshmi Ratna Shukla, hit out at BJP for trying to divert India’s attention from terrorism.
“We are more keen on removing terrorism from the world rather than pulling down photographs [of sportspersons],” Shukla said. “The BJP is trying to divert the attention from the current issue of terror attack. This is clear politics going on in the country,” he added.
Former cricketer and current Bengal coach Arun Lal called for some calm. “I can understand the feelings of my countrymen. I also share the same,” Lal said. “This is a very emotional time. We have lost some of our brave brothers and obviously the country is hurt. But we also must understand that sports is not politics.”