August 20, 2001

India cannot be bullied into taking part in ATC: Uma Bharti

India on Monday said it will not be bullied into participating in the Asian Test Championship.

Reacting strongly to a statement by the Asian Cricket Foundation President Jagmohan Dalmiya that India should convey its decision regarding participation by August 23 or the Championship will go ahead without India, Bharti said a decision cannot be forced upon the government.

"Kisi ki dhamki se faisla nahin liya jayega (a decision will not be taken based merely on threats by someone)," said Bharti in New Delhi, while inspecting the work underway at the Shivaji Stadium, one of the venues for the November 3-11 Afro-Asian Games.

However, Bharti said since a decision had not been taken so far, it should not be construed that India has pulled out of the championship.

"A decision will be taken shortly. After all sports is not the only thing the government has to think about. The country and its policies are of greater importance than sports," she said.

The decision has to be taken by the Ministry of External Affairs, she said, adding "I will convey it as soon as I get to know of it".

The second Asian Test Championship is scheduled to start in Multan, Pakistan on August 29 with the lung-opener pitting the hosts against Bangladesh in what would be the first ever Test between the two countries.