A day after the India-Pakistan World Twenty20 match venue was shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said the state government had never refused to provide security for the match and it was the ICC's decision to shift the venue.
"The state government had never refused to provide security for the India-Pakistan cricket match at Dharamsala and the decision to shift the venue to Kolkata was that of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The government had at no point expressed its inability to provide security for the match. It had conveyed this to the Ministry of Home Affairs as well," Singh said in a statement.
Hitting out at Thakur, the Chief Minister said "Instead of honouring the sentiments of the people of the state, Anurag Thakur was playing the blame game which showed that money was more important for HPCA than the sentiments of the martyrs' families."
Singh said that the ex-servicemen League, family members of martyrs of the Kargil war as well as those of the Pathankot attack were strongly opposed to the Indo-Pak match at Dharamsala and the state government had great respect for their sentiments.
"The state government had not shirked away from its duty and responsibility of maintaining peace, tranquility and law and order at any point," he said, adding that he had even advised the BCCI Secretary to approach the martyrs' family members and the ex-servicemen league to seek their support so that the right environment could be created without hurting anyone's feelings.
Singh noted that senior BJP leaders, including Shanta Kumar were also opposed to the match being played at Dharamsala and Kumar had even conveyed his resentment in writing to him as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.