India

Shiv Sena attack derails India-Pakistan cricket talks

File photo of Shiv Sena protesting against Pakistan in Delhi on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Shiv Sena blames Pakistan for militant attacks in India and is opposed to any engagement with it

A meeting between India and Pakistan's cricket board chiefs in Mumbai has been cancelled after a protest by far-right Hindu nationalists.

Dozens of Shiv Sena party activists broke into the office of the cricket board just before Monday's talks.

Shiv Sena blames Pakistan for militant attacks in India and is opposed to any engagement with it.

Earlier this month, the party forced the cancellation of a concert by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali.

And last week, Shiv Sena activists doused the head of an Indian think-tank in black ink in protest at his support for the launch of a book by a former Pakistani foreign minister.

The party said the ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni was a form of "peaceful protest" against Pakistan. Mr Kulkarni called the incident "an attack on democracy".

On Monday morning, Shiv Sena activists or Shiv Sainiks broke into the office of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, where the BCCI chief Shashank Manohar was scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Shahryar Khan to discuss India's participation in Pakistan's home series in December.

Police said a number of protesters had been detained.

Unconfirmed reports suggest a meeting between the cricket chiefs could take place in Delhi.

Rajeev Shukla, chairman of Indian Premier League (IPL) and a senior BCCI official, condemned the attack:

Image copyright Twitter

The Shiv Sena is a junior coalition partner in the Maharashtra state government, which is ruled by India's governing BJP.

It was founded in 1966 to keep south Indian migrants out of Maharashtra state and to halt the spread of Islam.

Over time, it has acquired a reputation for promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism while allegedly targeting minorities, especially Muslims.

India and Pakistan last played a Test series when Pakistan toured India in 2007, although they did meet in a bilateral limited-overs series in 2012-13.

Because of security fears in Pakistan, the country is due to host India's December tour in the United Arab Emirates.

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