Sena Hints at Lifting Ban on Australian, Pakistani Cricketers

Mumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has indicated that the party has lifted the ban on Pakistani and Australian cricketers taking part in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Thackeray said in a carefully worded statement issued Tuesday night that the party had continued to oppose the participation of Australian players in the upcoming IPL despite Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's pleas.

"The ban was to oppose the attacks on Indians in Australia. However, now our own Indian brothers there are demanding that we should lift the 'ban' since it is creating problems for them there. So why should we continue with it?" Thackeray asked, implying that the ban on Australian players had been been lifted.

Indicating a similar change of stance, Thackeray said the party had opposed Pakistani cricketers but Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said that India would welcome people from "Pakistan-occupied Kashmir".

"Even this is fraught with risks as Pakistani terrorists could infiltrate into our country. But (Defence Minister) A.K. Antony says if there is any infiltration, then we'll take it up with Pakistan," he said.

Thackeray, however, warned that in the wake of the Feb 13 Pune blast displaying such "generosity" could prove counter-productive for the country.

"If they don't understand these things, what can we do? They will realise it only when a bomb explodes under them, but by then it would be too late," he said.

"Let Australian cricketers come, let Pakistanis also come, let trained terrorists from Pakistan come, and allow even Pakistani infiltrators. We shall keep raising the issue, if it does not go into their heads what do we do?" he asked.

Thackeray went on to lambast the local train journey undertaken by "Italian Prince Rahul Gandhi" during his brief visit to Mumbai and said it was done under full security of paramilitary forces.

Referring to the act of Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe picking up the Congress general secretary's footwear, Thackeray said it was a part of Congress culture.

"Even S.B. Chavan, the father of present Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, had publicly picked up the footwear of the late Sanjay Gandhi and put it on his (Sanjay's) feet. Even pictures of the incident were published in the media," Thacekray pointed out.

It is this kind of Congress culture which will blacken the face of Maharashtra and the Marathis, he said.


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Comment on this article

  • Janet Xavier, DUBAI

    Thu, Feb 18 2010

    Can't beleive the double standards of the Sena. They are truly racist. They did not want Pakistanis to play in India and here they now allow the Australians only because they are white skin. Sports should not be mixed with Politics. Normal public in all countries only want peace. The Sena are the biggest terrorist of our Nation.

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