News

    Election Conflict Puts Indian Cricket Season in Jeopardy Amid Security Concerns

    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.

    Security 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.

    "Cricket 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.  

    "The 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.

    The 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 matches.

    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.

    The 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 borders.

    "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.

    Kevin 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.

    Threats 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.


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.