India v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Rajkot October 16, 2015

Political activist threatens to disrupt Rajkot ODI


Quota-stir leader in Gujarat, Hardik Patel, today threatened to block the way of the India and South Africa teams to the Rajkot stadium on match day (October 18) of the third ODI of the Gandhi-Mandela series.

The 22-year-old Patel, who is agitating to get reservations for his community, said that Patel community members will cordon off the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Khanderi village on the outskirts of Rajkot city, as tickets were allegedly not sold to his community members.

The police have made elaborate security arrangements after the threat by Hardik, deciding to fortify the stadium and the city with a large deployment to ensure the smooth conduct of the match. The police will deploy three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and 90 CCTV cameras will be installed for security purposes.

Both the Indian and South Africa teams arrived in the city on Thursday, and will train at the ground on Saturday.

"Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) should clarify why they declared that all tickets are sold in spite of the fact that many tickets yet remain unsold," Hardik, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), said. "PAAS will block the way of both the teams to the stadium and we will also cordon the entire stadium."

Hardik accused India's ruling political party, the BJP, of playing politics over the cricket match. "The government was saying till now that the match should not be turned into an agitation venue, but now this government is itself playing politics over the match," he said. "I request to declare the details of ticket selling, because we believe that SCA has given all the match tickets to the BJP people."

Earlier, Hardik had threatened that his community members will go in large numbers into the stadium on match day and protest for quota.