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Tuesday, January 19, 1999 Published at 17:33 GMT

World: South Asia

Indian cricket HQ moves after attack

Cricket officials have begun to clear up after Monday's attack

The Indian cricket authorities are moving their headquarters to Calcutta after Monday's attack on their offices in Bombay by Hindu nationalists.

Activists from the Shiv Sena party - allies of the prime minister's BJP - damaged furniture and computer equipment, as part of their campaign to stop a cricket tour by the Pakistani cricket team beginning this week.

Several championship trophies won by the Indian cricket team, including the 1983 World Cup were also damaged.

"Millions of cricket lovers feel deeply hurt by the damage done to trophies that symbolise great accomplishment and national pride," said Raj Singh Dungarpur, president of the Board of Cricket Control of India.

Protest backlash

[ image: Cricket fans are demanding that Shiv Sena is brought to book]
Cricket fans are demanding that Shiv Sena is brought to book
"It is unacceptable for anybody to desecrate them in this manner."

On Tuesday a crowd of cricket supporters gathered in Bombay to protest against the attack.

Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray has criticised the BCCI's decision to invite Pakistan to tour. He has said his party members will not allow the visiting team to play in India on the grounds that Pakistan is an enemy country.

The party opposes any efforts to improve sporting and cultural links between the two countries. It has also vowed to disrupt plans to establish a new bus service between the Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian capital, Delhi.

Cricket officials from both countries have said they are determined the tour will go ahead. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, has given assurances of "foolproof" security for the visitors.

Pitch attacked

[ image: Police inspectors check damaged trophys for fingerprints]
Police inspectors check damaged trophys for fingerprints
Two weeks ago, Shiv Sena activists dug up the pitch at Delhi's Ferozeshah Kotla cricket ground, and threatened to sabotage the first Test.

The venue was later switched to the southern city of Madras with the second Test to be being played in Delhi. The BCCI ordered security to be tightened at all venues due to host matches against Pakistan.

The police minister of West Bengal, Buddhadev Bhattacharya, has threatened Hindu demonstrators with severe action if they try to disrupt the scheduled match in Calcutta.

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