The Pulwama terror attack, which killed 40 CRPF jawans on February 14, has drawn an angry response from Indian sportsmen. Gautam Gambhir advocated taking an aggressive line in the country’s dealing with Pakistan while cricket associations in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have removed the photos of all Pakistan cricketers from their galleries. The Cricket Club of India (CCI) covered the portrait of former Pakistan skipper and current Prime Minister of the country Imran Khan and are contemplating removing the photo altogether.
The Pulwama terror attack comes at a time when the ICC Cricket World Cup is less than 100 days away. India are scheduled to play Pakistan on June 16 in Manchester and there are growing calls for the Indian cricket team to boycott the match against Pakistan from many users in social media. Harbhajan Singh, who was a member of the 2011 World Cup winning squad, also joined in the chorus stating India must boycott the game against Pakistan.
“There is no need for any relations with Pakistan, let alone cricket. Don't play the World Cup match with Pakistan on June 16 -- country comes first for all of us and we are all standing with our forces. I don't care about losing points as the Indian team is powerful enough to win the World Cup without playing Pakistan,” Harbhajan told in an interview with India Today.
In addition to Harbhajan, Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of the Indian Premier League said the actions of removing the portrait of Pakistan’s players are justified. “Whatever is happening, Imran Khan’s portrait being removed or MFN status revoked is people’s outrage and the reaction is justified. I’ve always said the sport is above politics but now it will hamper sporting ties too, not until Pakistan sponsored terrorism is stopped,” Shukla told.
Apart from cricket associations, the coverage of the Pakistan Super League in India has also been affected. IMG Reliance has pulled out of covering the PSL games while D Sports has also suspended the coverage of the PSL games on Television in India. Apart from TV, digital platforms have also taken a stand with Cricbuzz, a popular digital platform not covering the games on their website.