May 27, 2020
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A Nightmare Aborted?

From snakes to gas, the Shiv Sainiks had it all planned out

A Nightmare Aborted?

THE Shiv Sena had worked on elaborate plans - some ingenious, some bizarre and some others scary - to disrupt the Indo-Pak cricket tour being played out in Chennai, Delhi, Gwalior and Kochi.

In Chennai, non-poisonous snakes obtained from the Irula tribe were to be carried in tiffin boxes by supporters of the Hindu Munnani, Hindu Makkal Katchi and the Thani Tamizhar Munnani - all right-wing organisations sympathetic to the Shiv Sena. The cadres were given money for at least 100 persons in every stand and 250 tickets in the pavilion end and the D stand. They were to be clad in jeans and T-shirts to deflect suspicion and behave like cricket lovers.

Specific instructions were given not to wear a tilak or other caste signs which could betray their identity. If the police were to check tiffin boxes, the alternative was to also carry the snakes in plastic packets to be hidden in their pants. Nobody will dare touch our crotch. Physical frisking is only for the pockets, not in the groin area, says one Munnani activist. Taking a cue from the recent stampede at Sabarimala in Kerala, the activists were sure that they could cause enough commotion leading to virtual stoppage of the match once the snakes were out. Says the Sena's state unit general secretary, Thenmaravan: Our plan is to even disturb the practice sessions. No metal detector can find snakes. We may even throw pigs' heads.

In Gwalior, where a three-day match is scheduled, the plan was to smuggle in arms with a band of committed Sainiks. We will try to evoke the Maratha conquest of this place by Shivaji in days of yore, says a Sena leader. Plans were also being drawn up to get one of these activists to fire just one shot in the air to create panic. It will be just like what happened in the movie Satya, says another activist.

The Delhi unit had more grandiose plans: hiring a helicopter to fly over the stadium to spray poisonous gases. The other option, apart from throwing chappals and water bottles, was to mobilise people from neighbouring states to lay siege on the route which the Pakistan team would take to reach their hotel.

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