Ahead of the Pakistan women’s team's arrival for the ensuing Women's Cricket World Cup at Cuttack, the city police, on Sunday, took 10 activists of Utkal Bharat -- , including former MP Kharvel Swain -- into custody as the outfit was agitating against their participation in the tournament.
The police picked up Swain and others while they were on their way to BijuPatnaikAirport in Bhuvaneswar.
“The agitators are likely to be detained till arrival of the Pakistan team,” a senior police officer said.
“Pakistani players are scheduled to arrive here this evening. They will be lodged in Cuttack close to the Barabati Stadium while three other teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are to stay in Bhubaneswar,” Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Asribad Behera said.
While all the matches involving Pakistani players will be played at Barabati Stadium, other matches will be held at DRIEMS Ground at Tangi, 20 km from Cuttack city.
“The (Pakistani) players may go to Railway Stadium in Bhubaneswar for practice,” Behera said.
However, sources said the movement of Pakistani team would remain confined to Barabati Stadium. They would play a practice match against Odisha Women's cricket team at Barabati Stadium on Monday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Odisha Police led by Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra visited the Barabati Stadium on Sunday and inspected the security arrangements for the Pakistani players.
"Security of players from three other countries is not a problem. We have taken extra precautions to ensure security of Pakistani players," DGP told reporters adding all possible arranagements would be in place before their arrival this evening.
Sources in OCA said the Pakistani players will arrive at the airport in a special flight. Police have made elaborate security arrangements for their safe landing and transportation from the city to Cuttack.
Besides CPI (ML), a civil society group came forward in support of the Women's World Cup matches at the Barabati Stadium.
Meanwhile, opposition to Pakistani team’s arrival in India has lost steam in view of Kalinga Sena, one of the leading protestors group, giving up its agitation plan.
Though Kalinga Sena chief Hemant Rath has announced that his outfit would not go ahead with its agitation at the airport, police would maintain a vigil on their movement, a top police source said.
Kalinga Sena was the first to hit the streets after the OCA announced hosting of World Cup Group B matches involving Pakistan.
With Kalinga Sena apparently withdrawing from the agitation, only Sangh Parivar and Utkal Bharat were left opposing the participation of Pakistani players.
Besides, 500 private security personnel engaged by the OCA, the state police have made adequate arrangement for any eventuality, the DGP said.