Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi on Tuesday said it will not be right for India to play cricket with Pakistan unless attacks on Indian soil and the targeting of citizens stop.
Atishi was referring to the spate of civilian killings in Jammu and Kashmir in October. As many as 12 civilians, including migrant workers, have been killed in the Union Territory this month.
One person was shot dead by the Central Reserve Police Force, while the remaining 11 were killed by militants. The Resistance Front, believed to be an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, has claimed responsibility for most of killings.
In these circumstances, the Aam Aadmi Party asked why India should play the sport with Pakistan. The two teams are scheduled to face off in a match in the United Arab Emirates on October 24.
“In the last few days, again and again, we have seen how people are being attacked in Kashmir, be it local residents or those who have come to the Union territory from other parts of the country,” Atishi said at a press briefing.
The MLA added that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi would agree that cricket matches between India and Pakistan should not happen. “When the prime minister was in the Opposition, he repeatedly asked why we were playing cricket with Pakistan when the neighbouring country was perpetuating terrorism in India,” she said.
Union minister Ramdas Athawale also opposed the match, saying that he will take up the matter with Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary Jay Shah, PTI reported.
“If Pakistan does not stop its activities in the Valley, then there has to be an ‘aar paar ki ladaai’ [an all out war to settle things once and for all],” Athawale said. “There is a need to conduct another surgical strike against Pakistan, which needs to vacate PoK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and stop terror activities.”
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad said that the match between India and Pakistan should be stopped, ANI reported.
“I think such things [matches] should be halted so that Pakistan gets a message that if they keep supporting terrorism, India will not stand by them on any matter,” he added.
Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi criticised the Centre for the killing of civilians in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Poor labourers from Bihar are being killed [in Kashmir],” the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief said. “Targeted killings are taking place. What are the Intelligence Bureau and [Home Minister] Amit Shah doing? Weapons are coming to India. Will you a play a match [in this situation]?”
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has said that it cannot cancel the match, which will take place as part of the T20 World Cup.
“We condemn these attacks [in Kashmir],” the board’s Vice President Rajeev Shukla said, according to News18. “As far as the match is concerned, it is a international commitment. This is an ICC [International Cricket Council] tournament and we cannot call it off.”