A keenly-awaited clash between India and Pakistan in the 2016 T20 ICC World Cup – to be played in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh – might just not happen, or be moved to another city.
Leaders of the Congress Party, which rules the state, are asking the Indian cricket board to cancel the game in order to "respect sentiments" of family members of those killed in the 2 January terrorist attack on the nearby Pathankot air base, allegedly by Pakistani men.
At the least, the 19 March game should be played elsewhere, the politicians have told the Board of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI). The local unit of the Congress Party threatened to stage protests and halt the match.
"We are not opposed to the other nine matches but we will not allow the Indo-Pak match to take place as it will be nothing short of an insult to the families of the martyrs", said Sukhwinder Singh Sadhu, a Congress leader, told The Tribune daily.
"In case, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) still does not call off the match , the Congress protest will only intensify and the match will not be allowed at any cost," Chief Minister Vidharba Singh was quoted as saying by The Tribune
"I want to ask him (Anurag Thakur, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, President) why he is in favour of holding the match despite the opposition from martyr's families and general public of the state."
The protest is an unusual one in the context of India-Pakistan sports. It's typically Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the right-wing Shiv Sena that bid to stop sports encounters. But this time, both the BJP and Congress are seeking to block this game.
Former BJP lawmaker Rakesh Pathania has joined the call against the match and former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar, of the BJP, has even written to Modi asking for the match to be shifted.