New Delhi: Ailing Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray has strongly opposed the forthcoming India-Pakistan match series, scheduled to begin from December 25, and slammed the apex body for the sport and the Centre for giving a go ahead to it.

In an editorial published in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, the 86-year-old leader warned that his party won't allow the upcoming series, while castigating the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government as “an enemy of national pride” for giving the green signal to the tour.

The Sena chief came down heavily on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), accusing it of “betraying the country for the sake of money” and making Indian cricketers a part of that process of betrayal.

Alluding to Pakistan’s role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike and the 2001 Parliament attack, Thackeray said allowing Pakistan cricketers to play on Indian soil was tantamount to insulting the martyred jawans.

“By allowing them to play, we are not valuing the blood spilled by them (Indian soldiers) in our battles against Pakistani aggression,” he wrote in the article.

In October 1991, the Sena had dug up the pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium to protest against an India-Pakistan match scheduled to be held there.

Earlier, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has termed the invitation extended to Pakistan's cricket team by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as a matter of "national shame".

"The Pakistan team will be playing matches at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. At one point or the other, Pak terrorists have attacked these cities. The feet of Pakistani players won't touch Maharashtra but their tour of these cities is a matter of national shame," a national newspaper quoted Thackeray, as telling a news channel.

 He also accused the BCCI of "betraying the country for sake of money" and Indian cricketers of being part of that betrayal.

He said that "except for Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, no one opposed playing cricket with Pakistan".

Thackeray also criticized Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, for having "offered his services to Pakistan".

India's cricket board announced earlier that it had secured government clearance to host Pakistan for a short tour later this year. The BCCI has invited Pakistan to play three one-dayers and two Twenty20 matches in December-January, the first bilateral contests between the arch-rivals in five years.

(JPN/Agencies)

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