International Management Group (IMG), which has been managing the IPL since 2008 as part of a contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, has unilaterally altered the boundaries of Kashmir, an integral part of sovereign India.
In a 76-page manual prepared for the television coverage of the recently-concluded IPL-6, IMG, whose international headquarters are based in London, has changed the political boundaries of the northernmost part of Kashmir at two different places.
In the first map on page 37, while giving information about IPL venues and stadiums, the missing areas of Kashmir is starkly evident (see map on top right). Just beside the map, these words are printed: "The borders of Kashmir are in dispute. India, Pakistan, and China have differing claims therefore the borders of India may not be correct.” That, however, doesn’t absolve IMG of altering the boundaries accepted by the Indian government.
In the second map, on page 72, the manual shows the alleged "disputed” area with dotted lines (see main map). Through this map, the company had warned its employees/workers of malaria in different parts of the country.
Below the map are written these words: "This map is only intended as a guide and is not exact. The map must always be used in conjunction with the malaria advice text. Bite avoidance measures should be taken in all areas.” When contacted, IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman, who is largely responsible for executing the plans and who must have seen the manual, even refused to listen to the question.
"Sorry, I don’t have the time to talk. I am not in the country,” he said and cut the line.
It is not known if any BCCI official objected to the maps during the 54-day IPL or if they saw and By Qaiser Mohammad Ali in New Delhi ignored it.
Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi condemned BCCI for allowing IMG to tinker with the map. "It’s highly objectionable. Is IMG going to decide the political heritage of India? You are compromising with the sovereignty of the country. You wonder why IPL is taking place,” Bedi thundered.
"If IMG has done what they have, they have done it with the approval of the BCCI. So, you give one reason why IPL should carry on,” he told MAIL TODAY. Political leaders were also furious.
Senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi, who was a member of the Yashwant Sinha-headed Lok Sabha standing committee on 'Tax Assessment/Exemptions and Related Matters Concerning IPL/BCCI 2010-11, was also furious.
"Without doubt, it’s highly objectionable.
We don’t consider Kashmir a disputed territory at all. IPL people should look into this issue. It’s my considered opinion,” Alvi told MAIL TODAY.
"I am sure the government will take up the issue once it is brought up to its notice.” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman too was angry.
"I have not seen the map, but from what you are saying, it cannot be acceptable to us. The Indian territory is a sovereign country. It’s sacrilege, absolutely,” Sitharaman told Mail Today. "How can anyone do that? The external affairs ministry should immediately take cognisance of this issue.”