Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Services team and Srinagar

On 3 November 2009 Services team did not turn up at Srinagar to play Ranji Trophy match against Jammu & Kashmir. This led to an uproar especially from Farooq Abdullah. He questioned when Kashmir is safe for Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram to come and to Sonia Gandhi to address people without bullet proof glass why it is not safe for Services team to play in Srinagar. Ambassadors of 22 countries have come and played golf. Services team would have been provided same level of security. For Farooq Abdullah Services team not playing was a sign of conspiracy not to allow Kashmir to return to normalcy.
BCCI banned Services team for the year. Services team apologised and sought new dates.
The decision not to send Services team was taken on the basis of intelligence reports. Ranji Trophy match is for four days. In Lahore cricketers were attacked. If the people in charge of taking decision about Services team thought it right for Services team not to play in Srinagar it would have been on the basis of sufficient reason.
Everything is not all right in Jammu and Kashmir. Pre-paid mobile service that was prevalent in J&K was banned from 1 November 2009. J&K government asked the centre to reconsider the ban. That shows the situation is not normal. However the reason given for banning pre-paid is not convincing. It is said that for pre-paid connection one document is required and for post-paid three documents are required. In that case the requirement for pre-paid should have been made three documents.
On 4/11/2009 Farooq Abdullah said β€œI am sure the Centre has taken this extreme step only to make sure the misuse is curbed. It will be curbed soon.”
Same day Chidambaram said β€œIt was a well considered decision of the central government, which was taken after the Union Home Ministry apprised its concern to the government. The decision was taken up keeping in view the security situations and the service providers were also apprised about the decision before the move of banning the pre-paid connections was taken.
The ban on the pre-paid connections was going to stay in Jammu and Kashmir at least for now. However, service providers were working out for alternate arrangements for the same to the people.”
Chidambaram also expressed displeasure at Services team pulling out of Srinagar and promised to see that a match takes place there.
Pre-paid is more important than cricket. If Chidambaram has promised lifting the ban on pre-paid it would have sent a better signal than arranging a cricket match in Srinagar.
Farooq Abdullah should have protested publicly when pre-paid was banned in J&K. If he has protested privately it is immaterial. His criticism of Services team was public.

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