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ISL, Ranji Trophy matches postponed in Guwahati

Panaji: The protests over Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has had it effect on sports in India with The Indian Super League (ISL) match between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC being postponed indefinitely and the Ranji Trophy match between Assam and Services being suspended in Guwahati, according to reports from PTI.

The Indian Super League (ISL) football match between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC in Guwahati was postponed indefinitely after the host city was placed under a curfew following protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, PTI reported.

The game was slated to be played at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium there.

Day four proceedings of the Ranji Trophy game between Assam and Services in Guwahati were also suspended due to the curfew imposed in the city following protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The hosts were in the middle of their series-opener against the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB). However, after stating that the game in Tripura – between the hosts and Jharkhand – was also suspended, the BCCI clarified that this match was going ahead as scheduled despite the protests in Agartala, PTI reported.

“Due to the ongoing unrest in Guwahati, match 37 between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC has been postponed until further notice,” the ISL said in a statement.

“The league has been in consultation with the concerned authorities over the past 48 hours to determine the best course of action. The safety of fans, players and league staff is of paramount importance, which has led to this decision,” it added.

Guwahati, the epicentre of anti-CAB protests, was placed under indefinite curfew on Wednesday night while the Army was called in at four places.

Assam Rifles personnel were deployed in Tripura on Wednesday after the two north-eastern states plunged into chaos over the hugely emotive Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

A team official of NorthEast United FC said the side is currently stuck in a hotel in Guwahati. “We can’t get out of the hotel at this moment. Situation is not good here at all,” the official said on conditions of anonymity.

“We have been advised by the state association not to go ahead with the game. Players and match officials have been advised to remain in the hotel. At this stage, the safety of the players and match officials is paramount,” BCCI GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim told PTI.

Asked if the game will be replayed or the points will be shared, Karim added: “As the curfew has been imposed, both teams (in Assam) and match officials have been advised not to leave the hotel. We follow whatever advice we receive from the host association.”

The game in Guwahati was heading for an exciting finish with Assam needing 168 runs for victory with five wickets in hand. Services had bounced back strongly after being bundled out for 129 in their first innings. They dismissed Assam for 162 in response and scored 272 runs in the second innings. In their second essay, Assam was 74 for five at stumps on day three.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after being cleared by Lok Sabha on Monday.

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