Activists of the opposition Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and members of rightwing groups such as the Bajrang Dal Monday protested outside the office of the Odisha Cricket Association in Cuttack against the plan to host World Cup matches of the Pakistan women's team.
Hundreds of BJP workers and those of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) as well as the Bajrang Dal demonstrated at the Odisha Cricket Association in Cutttack, about 25 km from here. They also blocked the national highway.
"Pakistan players would not be allowed to play in India till the army of that country behaves in accordance with international conventions," Ashok Sahu, state vice president, told IANS. He was referring to the killing of two Indian soldiers, one of whom was beheaded and his head taken away, along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shouting anti-government slogans, the activists also submitted a memorandum to association authorities and urged them not to allow such matches in view of the widespread cross-border tension.
The demand found echo in two regional parties, Utkal Bharat and Kalinga Sena, who said at a joint press conference here that they would not allow the Pakistan cricket team to stay anywhere in the state.
"We will protest against them right from Bhubaneswar airport," said Kalinga Sena president Hemanta Ratha.
The ICC Women's World Cup, about to commence on Jan 31, was earlier scheduled to be held in Mumbai. However, the Pakistan matches were shifted to Cuttack following opposition by the Shiv Sena.