Officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were forced to put off their meeting after Shiv Sena activists barged into the Indian cricket board’s office in Mumbai to protest a bilateral series slated for December.
The meeting is now scheduled to take place in New Delhi on Tuesday instead after activists of far-right political group Shiv Sena attacked the BCCI headquarters just before the PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan was to meet BCCI chief Shashank Manohar.
According to the report by NDTV, activists crashed through the gates of the office in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium that serves as the headquarters of the BCCI.
The activists shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and held posters that read ‘Shahryar Khan go back’, determined to stop Manohar from meeting his Pakistani counterpart.
The protesters entered Manohar’s office and crowded around his desk, shouting slogans.
“Six people are being held in custody and we are registering an offence of rioting,” Mumbai Police Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni told AFP.
The ICC has withdrawn Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar from the remainder of the ODI series between India and South Africa after the threats.
The ICC said it would be unreasonable to expect Dar to "perform his duties to the best of his abilities".
“Thirty-five were involved so we are looking to arrest a few more,” he added.
The protesters demanded that Manohar cancel talks with the PCB chairman that were planned in Mumbai to discuss the bilateral series.
The PCB chief had earlier said that the chances of a series against India were slim with the Indian board still waiting to get clearance from its government.
"I don't want to give India any ultimatum but the chances are getting slimmer because I think their problem is they mix politics with sports," he said.
"We are not pleading them, we are not kneeling down, we are just telling them that you have signed MoU and tell us whether you are honouring it or not."
Shiv Sena has also threatened to stop Pakistan’s Aleem Dar from officiating in the fifth and final ODI between India and South Africa to be played in Mumbai on Sunday, said a report published on the ESPNcricinfo.
The Indian and Pakistani boards had signed a pact for six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, beginning with Pakistan’s home series in December.
India have not played a bilateral Test series against Pakistan since 2007, though they did host them for two T20Is and three ODIs between December 2012 and January 2013.
Shiv Sena, a hardline outfit founded by the late Bal Thackeray, has in the past threatened Pakistani athletes to deter them from engaging in competitive sports in India.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies