Aus cricket team bus attacked with rock in Guwahati, CM orders probe

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Oct 11: The T20I cricket series between India and Australia took a shameful turn on Tuesday, when the Australian cricket team bus was attacked with a rock prompting chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to order a probe into the incident. The incident took place at Katahbari area near Gorchuk on NH-37 after Australia defeated India by eight wickets at the newly built stadium to level the three-match T20I series 1-1. However, no players were hurt in the incident.

The second T20I at Barsapara ended at around 10:05 pm while both the teams left the venue after an hour. The Australian cricket team bus was accompanied by local police and security officials on their way back to the Hotel Radisson Blu.

The incident came to the light after Australian opener Aaron Finch tweeted a picture of a broken glass window of the bus. No one was sitting at the window, when the rock hit the glass panel. “Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!” he wrote on Twitter. The post was also retweeted by stand-in captain David Warner.

Assam Cricket Association (ACA) vice-president Debojit Saikia said they have lodged a complaint with the police regarding the incident. “The culprit should be found. We have informed the police about the incident. I am also meeting the Australian team officials to assure them of security on their way back from Guwahati. The atmosphere was great during the match and we will make sure that such freak incidents won’t mar the reputation of Assam cricket,” Saikia told reporters here.

Meanwhile, the police detained two persons suspecting them to be involved in the rock attack on the team bus.

“The police have already registered a case in this connection,” Assam Police director general Mukesh Sahay said. “It is an unfortunate incident. There was no security lapse. Adequate security was provided to both India and Australia teams,” Sahay said.

“A team of city police headed by a DIG is probing the incident,” Guwahati city police commissioner Hiren Nath said.

Meanwhile, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has strongly condemned the incident of rock attack at the bus carrying Australian cricketers and described it as ‘unfortunate.’

“It was a devious act to tarnish Guwahati’s reputation as an emerging sports hub. We strongly condemn it and investigation is going on full swing. Whoever indulged in the act did it with the sole objective of defaming Assam and derailing our journey towards excellence. We will foil the evil design with the support of the people of Assam. Culprits will get exemplary punishment,” Sonowal said.

Referring to the security arrangements put in place for the international sports events in the state, the chief minister also cited an appreciation letter from Roma Khanna, Head of Venue Operation, FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

In a letter written to the state government, Khanna reasserted the football body’s gratitude towards Assam government and stated that the security and the facilities that have been provided to the international teams have been immaculate and have set the benchmark for other events of this stature that India may host in the future.

Sonowal also directed the DGP Mukesh Sahay to expeditiously book the culprits behind the dastardly act. Sonowal also directed the chief secretary Vinod Kumar Pipersenia to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit report to him.

A team comprising sports minister Naba Kumar Doley, chief secretary and DGP called on the Australian players to express the concern of the state government and informed the measures taken after the incident.

“Yesterday we witnessed a spectacular game and great display of sportsman spirit by the audience. Both teams were given a rousing welcome. Performance by both the teams was hailed by the audience, expressing people’s commitment towards turning Assam as the sports capital of India,” Sonowal said.

Assam Cricket Association president and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also condemned the incident.

On the other hand, thousands cricket fans of Assam, students, youths held placards in front of Hotel Radisson Blu and at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Borjhar and apologised to the Australian cricket team for the unfortunate incident.

International news agency AFP in its report on the rock attack incident quoted Cricket Australia spokesman saying that the Australian cricketers were satisfied with the levels of security provided. The AFP report has appeared in several web editions of international newspapers.

As per the AFP news, a CA spokesman told the news agency they were “satisfied with the levels of security provided.”

Union sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also tweeted “Guwahati stone throwing incident is not reflective of our security measures. Australian Team and FIFA are content with those. India remains a graceful host”.

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