Cricket in the time of suspicion

October 9th, 2008 - 12:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Sarai Meer (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 9 (IANS) It’s a confidence building measure with a difference. In a step to soothe ruffled feathers, a cricket match is going to be played between residents of a village on the outskirts of this small town in Azamgarh district and a joint team of the administration and the police.Sanjarpur, the village five km from this town and 270 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, has earned notoriety in recent weeks as the native place of over a dozen terror suspects involved in the recent serial blasts across the country.

Besides Atif and Sajid, who were killed in a police shootout in Delhi last month, many of the terror suspects arrested by various police forces in the past few weeks hail from Sanjarpur.

“We came to know that the Sanjarpur team is famous for its fast bowlers and has never lost a local cricket tournament in the last few years,” said Azamgarh Superintendant of Police Ramit Sharma, himself an avid cricketer.

“We thought that this would be the best way to pacify the residents and to ward off the negative image they have developed about us,” he added, talking about the genesis of the cricket match.

The residents have also appreciated the move.

“We were very upset with the recent developments and also because the local police never accompanied the police teams of other states that raided our village. However, this is a nice gesture by our SP,” Mohammad Shahid, head of neighbouring Beenapara village and ex-fast bowler of the Sanjarpur team, told IANS.

“The date (of the match) has not been fixed yet. We’ll take time to gather cricketers to match the standards of the Sanjarpur team,” said Sharma, tongue firmly in cheek.

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