Birmingham, July 11 (IANS) Using the ongoing 2019 World Cup as a platform for spreading political messages continued on Thursday as a plane with a message “WORLD MUST SPEAK UP FOR BALOCHISTAN” was flown over the Edgbaston Cricket Stadium again and again during the semi-final game between England and Australia.
This comes on the back of four Sikh spectators being expelled from the stadium by the ICC during the game between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford for sporting t-shirts with political messages.
Confirming the development, the ICC had said: “We can confirm a small group of fans were asked to leave Old Trafford during the first innings for breaching the ticketing terms and conditions by undertaking a political protest.
“We do not condone any sort of political messages at the World Cup and initially asked the group to stop the protest so they could remain in venue, when they refused they were asked to leave. We work with venue security and local police forces around the country to prevent this type of protest occurring and will continue to do so.”
This isn’t the first time that the ongoing tournament has been used to propagate political messages. A plane carrying the slogan ”Justice for Kashmir” was first seen flying over the Headingley Cricket Ground on Saturday when India played Sri Lanka. It was followed by another plane which had a slogan “India Stop Genocide & Free Kashmir”. It was further followed by another plane which asked people to stop mob lynching in India.
With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wanting clarity on the process in place to avoid a ‘political slogan’ fiasco in Manchester for the semi-final game, managing director Cricket World Cup Steve Elworthy had promised the Indian board that every step was taken to avoid a repeat. In fact, the stadium was made a no-flying zone for the duration of the game.
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at email@example.com)