Heavy security for Pakistani women’s cricket team

Bhubaneswar, Jan 29: Heavy security has been deployed at Barabati stadium in Cuttack after protests against holding World Cup matches with Pakistan’s women’s cricket team in the city.

“Elaborate security arrangements have been made in and outside the stadium and where the Pakistani players are staying” S. Praveen Kumar, deputy commissioner of police at Cuttack, 26 km from here, told IANS.

The Pakistan team, which arrived here Sunday evening, is staying at the Barabati Stadium clubhouse.

Earlier, activists of right-wing groups and some political parties staged protests and asked hoteliers in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in Odisha not to house the Pakistani players.

The activists had submitted a memorandum to the state and local cricket association authorities urging them not to allow Pakistani team matches in the wake of the recent tensions between India and Pakistan at the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and BJP activists also staged peaceful demonstrations at Bhubaneswar airport and near the stadium in Cuttack.

“We don’t mind the accommodation. We are not here to stay in five-star hotels. We are here to play cricket and we are comfortable (in the clubhouse),” Pakistani cricket team captain Sana Mir told reporters.

The Pakistani team played a friendly match with Odisha amid heavy security arrangement Tuesday.

The ICC Women’s World Cup, to commence Jan 31, was earlier scheduled to be held in Mumbai. However, the matches with the Pakistani team were shifted to Cuttack following opposition by the Shiv Sena.

IANS