New Delhi : Dismissing reports of terror threats in Hyderabad, the Union home secretary, Mr G.K. Pillai, declared in an exclusive interview to this newspaper on Friday that it was “safe” to hold IPL matches in the Andhra region.
He added that if needed, the Centre was prepared to provide adequate security for the matches if these were held in Hyderabad. Mr Pillai, speaking openly for the first time on the issue said, “It was not a correct decision to cancel IPL matches in Hyderabad. There was no terrorist threat, but just the Telangana issue.”
The home secretary pointed out that the Joint Action Committee (JAC) which was spearheading the Telangana agitation had “given a categorical assurance that they would not disrupt the event.”
It may be recalled that the IPL organisers had shifted the matches due to the continuing T-agitation. The intelligence and security agencies had also been talking of terror modules active in the southern states. On how safe Hyderabad was as a venue for the matches, the home secretary said, “If the IPL is in Hyderabad, it will be safe. We will provide the security.”
Seven IPL-3 matches had earlier been scheduled to be played in the city. The IPL board’s decision to not allow matches to be held in either Hyderabad or Visakhapatnam, home base of the Deccan Chargers, led to outrage across Andhra Pradesh.
A series of protest letters had been sent to the IPL authorities, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well as to former BCCI chief and International Cricket Council (ICC) president-elect, Mr Sharad Pawar, on the matter. Mr Pillai said that the IPL board’s decision to pull the matches out of Hyderabad was “hasty.”
On security for other major sporting events in India, including the proposed Hockey World Cup, Mr Pillai said, “All other events are as per schedule.”
The home secretary was, however, evasive when asked about the Centre’s move to initiate the process for a separate state of Telangana