M A I N   N E W S

Indian cricketers get death threat,
team departure for Bangladesh put off

Dhaka, December 5
The Indian cricket team’s tour of Bangladesh starting next week today appeared to be running into rough weather with a militant group threatening to kill the Indian players, even as the team’s departure for Bangladesh was postponed.

Officials of the Indian External Affairs Ministry and the Indian cricket board are flying in here tomorrow to assess the situation in the light of the threat handed out by the little-known Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami in a letter to the Indian High Commission here.

India’s Deputy High Commissioner S. Chakraborty said a letter had been received from the group stating that they would kill the Indian cricketers if they toured the country.

“The trip by the Indian team appears quite uncertain at the moment because the BCCI would have to decide if they feel safe to come to Bangladesh following this threat,” he said, adding that the threat could not be ignored.

Mr Chakraborty said the fate of the tour would depend on the outcome of the review of the situation by both sides. “We want this tour to go ahead.”

He said the High Commission had informed the Bangladesh government about the threat and they had ensured fool-proof security to ensure the tour goes on.

The Indian team is slated to play two Test matches and three one-dayers during the 22-day tour starting on December 9.

A Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) official Reazuddin al-Mamun told a press conference that he did not see any reason for India to call off the tour.

“The letter by the militant group has wrong English. We do not think it should be given any credence. We look forward to welcome the Indian team,” he said.

BCB President Ali Azghar Lobby said a letter had already been sent to the Indian cricket board ensuring tight security for the series.

“We have written that the BCB takes full responsibility for the series. We have said that these type of threats usually turn out to be misleading and fake and should not spoil the series,” he said.

“The government has assured that security would be beefed up to ensure the tour goes on,” Ali Azghar said.

KOLKATA: The Indian team’s departure to Bangladesh, which was scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed following a death threat issued by a militant group in Dhaka.

Board President-Elect Ranbir Singh Mahendra said the Indian team would not leave for Bangladesh before December 8 following advise from the government.

“We have received a letter from the government asking us not to send the team before December 8,” he said.

Cricket board’s joint secretary Goutam Dasgupta said the board has informed its Bangladesh counterpart about the delay in departure and also that it was waiting for a clearance from the government.

Sports Minister Sunil Dutt said in New Delhi that it had asked the BCCI to “hold on till the government takes a decision on the tour.” — PTI

NEW DELHI (TNS): A security team will go to Dhaka tomorrow to make an on-the-spot assessment of the security arrangements, the threat perception to the Indian cricket team, the terrorist potential of HUJI and other security related matters.

HUJI was formed in 1980 and it later merged with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen to give birth to Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA). 

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