Don't link sports to politics: Omar

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 05, 2012 13:43 hrs

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday reacted to the threats issued by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on the upcoming India-Pakistan cricket series and said cricket should not be mixed with politics.

"As far as effects on India-Pakistan relations are concerned, we will never desire that sports should be linked to politics," Abdullah told reporters on Monday.

Reacting to Thackeray´s threats, Abdullah said: "This is not for the first time that India and Pakistan are playing matches after 26/11 (attacks on Mumbai)."

"Maybe, the matches were played at any other place but they were played. If they have problem with matches between India and Pakistan then they should have also opposed them in past," he said.

Abdullah said security arrangements should be beefed up at the venues.

"I hope that wherever these matches are played, all security arrangements would be made," Abdullah said.

Thackeray has said that unless Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde withdrew his "let bygones be" remark on the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties, the matches would not be allowed to take place.

"Shinde saheb, if you have any shame, take your statement back or self-respecting and patriotic Hindus will not allow the matches to happen," a report quoted the 86-year-old as saying in party mouthpiece Saamna.

The Indian government, meanwhile, assured that ´foolproof´ security will be given to Pakistani players when they will tour the country for a limited over cricket series next month.

Union Minister of State for Home RPN Singh told reporters: "We will provide foolproof security to the Pakistan cricket team."

He said the matches will take place ´as per schedule´ and people opposing it ´should take the game as game only´.

On Thursday, Thackeray had said that the Pakistani cricket team´s tour to India was a matter of national shame. He said allowing Pakistani players to play in India was an insult to memory of the jawans killed in 26/11 attack on Mumbai.

He also slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India accusing it of betraying the country for the sake of money.

The India-Pakistan series is scheduled to begin on Dec 25.

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