New Delhi: Another season of the Indian Premier League, or IPL has just got underway.
IPL matches in four cities, Delhi, Mohali, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, have had advisories issued to spectators watching the game on the ground, that they must not carry protest banners related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), according to PTI.
‘Paytm Insider’, the ticketing partner of Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Titans, Lucknow Super Giants, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, has listed ‘prohibited items’ and among them are banners related to the CAA/NRC Protest.
PTI says that the advisory has been issued by franchises that manage the ticketing business of their respective home matches.
The advisory of prohibited items by Chennai Super Kings didn’t have this listed specifically.
The Citizen Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) was passed in December 2019. It offers to fast-track the citizenship of non-Muslims from three countries in the region. The National Register for Citizens (NRC) is a controversial register of all Indian citizens made possible by the 2003 amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955, but it was the possible linking of this with activities around the Census in 2021, which had caused a furore and widespread protests raged for months before the pandemic shut them down. There has been no word about the Census either until now.
A senior Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) official told PTI, “The ticketing is completely a franchise’s prerogative. We are just facilitators, who provide them with the venue. We have no role in the ticketing advisory.”
A representative of an IPL franchise told the news agency, “Any franchise prepares its list of do’s and don’t’s on the advice of the BCCI and hence if such an advisory has gone, there is approval from the board or else it wouldn’t appear on the website.”
There has been no official comment from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Indian cricket players did take the knee moments before their T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12 clash against Pakistan in Dubai in 2021, as a nod to #BlackLivesMatter which happened with BCCI fully in the agreement. They got panned for selectively choosing their politics at the time.
In the Football World Cup held in Qatar last year, politics and sport had again come into focus globally, especially with the multi-coloured armband which was disallowed, for fears of annoying the hosts. Seven team captains wanted to wear it but as same-sex relationships are banned in Qatar, the symbol of same-sex love was kept at bay. Morocco players had a Palestinian flag on the pitch after their last-16 win over Spain in Qatar and previous matches while the first Arab World Cup saw a plethora of “Free Palestine” messages from fans in and outside stadiums.