Security worries are causing trouble for the planned second season of a
new Indian cricket league. India's home minister says the matches
cannot be played as originally scheduled because elite forces will need
to provide security for national elections. The concern comes in wake
of this week's attack in Lahore, Pakistan on Sri Lanka's cricket team.
for national polling takes precedence over sports. That is what the
cabinet minister tasked with India's internal security is telling
officials of the Indian Premier League, known as the IPL. The cricket
league's second season is scheduled from April 10 through May 24 in
eight cities. India is to hold its first national election in five
years between mid-April and mid-May.
Home Minister Palaniappan
Chidambaram, speaking to reporters in Hyderabad Friday called that an
unacceptable conflict from the standpoint of security.
when played in India is completely safe. Nobody need worry about
playing cricket in India or the safety of anyone. All I'm saying is the
dates have to be re-jigged so I can provide paramilitary forces, if
necessary," he said.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi says host
cities are being shifted so as to not conflict with polling and no
matches will occur when the ballots are being tabulated.
day of the counting there will be no matches in any city because we
want to assure that the counting is going on and there are no matches
taking place on that day. Otherwise the schedule is being adjusted up
and down and we will have a revised schedule out," he said.
IPL includes star cricketers from abroad playing a faster-paced version
of the game (known as 20-20), debuted last year. It has become a big
financial success for its franchise holders and broadcasters airing the
Indian officials say this week's suspected terrorist
attack in Lahore, Pakistan, on the Sri Lankan national cricket team,
which left six policemen and a driver dead, highlights the need for
reinforced security surrounding high-profile sporting events.
Indian home minister says the Lahore attack, with gunmen carrying
automatic weapons, grenades and a rocket launcher, reinforces the
necessity for Pakistan to crack down hard on militants within its own
"The entire terrorist infrastructure must be
dismantled. If that terror infrastructure remains intact, it's like
riding a tiger. And you know what happens to somebody who rides a
tiger. They have to dismantle the terror infrastructure and declare
zero tolerance for any kind of terrorist activity," he said.
Rudd, the prime minister of Australia, home to two officials who
survived the attack, says he wants answers from Pakistan on how up to
12 men were able to carry out the 20-minute assault. Several Sri Lankan
players were wounded.
No one has claimed responsibility for the
attack. Pakistan has made some arrests and says it has identified those
who conducted the attacks, but is not releasing details.
that curtail cricket matches have ramifications beyond the pitch as it
is the most popular sport in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
And to many observers cricket is what continues to give the
sub-continent a common bond in the post-colonial era.