Amid Republic Day preparations, playfields in Kashmir fear vandalization

Mohsin Kamal

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Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium, Srinagar. PIC- GK
Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium, Srinagar. PIC- GK

The preparations for 26th January are on high across the whole country as India is set to celebrate its 70th Republic Day, this Saturday. However, things doesn’t seem in place in snow-covered Kashmir valley where playfields are feared to face Vandalization.

The use of vehicles and other heavy stuff for Republic Day celebrations is proving to be devastating for the wet playfields across Kashmir. The already ‘shambolic’ grounds might end up losing shape and hence become useless for sports activities in the future.

In central Kashmir’s district Budgam, the Sports Stadium has almost been ‘destroyed’,

“We just have one proper ground in the locality and it has already been destroyed on the eve of Republic Day. The vehicles have wreck havoc both to the outfield as well as on turf of the ground,” a group of youth from the area said.

Sports Stadium Budgam
Sports Stadium Budgam

The locals also insisted that they don’t oppose the celebrations but it shouldn’t cost them their only sports stadium,

“We are not opposing the celebrations but wrecking our stadium for this, is something we can’t take. It remains our home for all kinds of sports activities and vandalizing it means irking our dreams,” they added.

Sports Stadium Budgam
Sports Stadium Budgam

The only proper cricket stadium in Kashmir is also becoming a victim of the preparations. Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium, Srinagar which was damaged by a similar function some years back, had held a Ranji Trophy match, first time in three years, this season. However, it might again be of no use after the Republic Day celebrations end,

“Everybody knows that Kashmir just has one proper cricket stadium but I don’t know why they(administration) often damages it. We have several other grounds around which can be used for these type of functions but it seems like they don’t want to see development of cricket in the state,” a former cricketer of J&K said.

Another top cricketer while expressing concern about Stadium’s availability for upcoming season said that they are left helpless.

“Apart from being the only geniune cricket field, it also is the only stadium with turf wickets. It’s highly possible that there won’t be any activities in the ground in near future after the Republic Day.” He said.

Meanwhile, adminstration seems to have no idea of how to handle these delicate playfields without damaging them for the Republic Day celebrations.