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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs