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Anti-Pak protests block highway

Cuttack, Jan. 21: Activists of the BJP and the Bajrang Dal today brought traffic on national highway No. 5 near Madhupatna Square here to a grinding halt to protest against the decision of the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) to play host to the Pakistani team.

The road blockade put commuters in a spot even as activists of the two outfits burnt the Pakistani national flag and threatened to “ransack the pitches” at Barabati Stadium and Driems ground in the city.

“I was stranded on the NH for over 45 minutes and got late for work. This is not at all justified. They should not mix sports with politics,” said government employee S.E. Ullaha.

There were others, however, who saw logic in the protests. Milan Chhotray, 55, argued that the Pakistani team should not be allowed to play in Cuttack in light of the tension on the Indo-Pak border.

“Pakistani players should not be allowed to play in India under any circumstances,” he said. Bajrang Dal city coordinator Sangram Swain said they were not against the World Cup matches but opposed the expected arrival of the Pakistani team here this weekend. “We will damage the pitch at both the venues if OCA allows the Pakistani team to play here,” he said.

“We are not against sports and there is no politics involved. People from all walks of life are against the inhuman act by Pakistan” said BJP leader Ashok Sahu.