Cricket fans at the Barsapara stadium in Guwahati may have to witness the T20 match between India and Sri Lanka on January 5 without the national flags and banners.
Heavy security arrangements have been made for Sunday’s T20 match because of the ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. Police have made it clear that not even Indian flags will be allowed inside the stadium on the match day.
On Saturday, hundreds of cricket fans who had gathered at the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) stadium at Barsapara to have a glimpse of their favourite players were not allowed to enter the stadium like before.
“Except mobile and money purse, maybe the vehicle key, nothing else will be allowed. Except that X,Y,Z…nothing will be allowed. We have blocked everything,” ADGP (Law and Order) GP Singh told reporters outside the stadium when specifically asked if the Indian flags would be allowed to be carried inside the stadium.
Though police have not identified any reason behind the high security, the ongoing CAA protests have forced the organizers to intensify the security layers.
“We have multiple-layered security system. There are adequate security personnel on the roads. There’s no shortage in number of security. So far, everything is normal. I would like to appeal to the people of the state to enjoy the game peacefully so that such events can happen again here,” Singh added.
Heavy security presence was seen at the stadium premises for the last couple of days and Saturday being the highest of all including the Rapid Action Force (RAF), a specialised wing of the CRPF to deal with riot and crowd control situations.
This has led to much dejection to the cricket fans who gathered to have a glimpse of the players who took part in the training sessions on Saturday.
“I was expecting to have a close look at Virat Kohli and others while batting in the nets. I kept standing on the stretch between Barsapara tinali and Dhirenpara, but the security personnel would not allow us to go near the gate. It was very disappointing,” said Ranjit Hazarika, a cricket fan from the city.
The fans who have bought tickets are also unhappy with the security arrangements that the tri-colour will not be allowed inside the stadium.
“This is not done. How can they stop the Indian flag? This is too much. We are obviously not happy with this decision,” said another fan.