ICC-BCCI Delegation Visits Odisha Amid Protests

A day after the state government allowed the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) to hold Pakistan team's matches in the Women's World Cup, a delegation of ICC and BCCI today met top officials amid protest by different groups.

The Bajrang Dal has called a 'bandh' on Thursday here to protest Cuttack hosting Pakistan women's team for the mega event.

"A delegation of ICC and BCCI met me and sought logistic support from the state government. They want to hold matches involving Pakistan team at the Barabati Stadium," Sports Secretary I Srinivasan told reporters here.

The delegation met home secretary U N Behera and DGP Prakash Mishra before going to Cuttack for field visit at Barabati Stadium.

"The delegation wanted fool proof security for players from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Pakistan," a senior home department official said.

"We are satisfied that the government has extended support for the World Cup tournament. We are thankful to the state government," Suru Nayak, tournament director told reporters after meeting the DGP.

The state government has assured foolproof protection for players from Pakistan, said OCA president Ranjib Biswal.

Meanwhile, Bajrang Dal state coordinator Girish Mahant announced at Cuttack the outfit's plan to observe a 24-hour bandh on January 24.

Utkal Bharat, a small political party, has extended support to the bandh call. 

The visit of ICC-BCCI team today also saw protest demonstrations here and at Cuttack by activists of Sangh Parivar, Kalinga Sena and Utkal Bharat.

Bajrang Dal and Utkal Bharat workers demonstrated at various places in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, including the Police Commissioner's headquarters and certain star hotels where the players were supposed to stay.

"At least 10 people were taken into custody," said Assistant Commissioner of Police, Nihar Das.

In an apparent bid to avoid any trouble, there would be no ticket sale for the 11 matches to be played at Barabati Stadium at Cuttack and DRIEMS Ground at Tangi.

"OCA will issue passes to spectators at both the places," Srinivasan said.

Pakistan are likely to arrive here on January 27 to play two friendly matches against Odisha Women Cricket team on January 28 and 29 at Barabati Stadium before the main tournament begins.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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