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   It is ture, there were more policemen in the stands... (November 9, 1986)

It is ture, there were more policemen in the stands to watch the India Australia match in Srinagar than ordinary spectators.

A friend, who has just returned from Srinagar, was telling me about it this morning: "The Kashmiri of them watching the game."

"Yes I read about that," I said "For every normal spectator, there were ten policemen."

"More than that," said my friend. "Where I was sitting, there were only policemen all around, wearing their nice uniforms and all. I was told that even some people who were not in uniforms were policemen in plain clothes. Probably they were not wearing their uniforms as they were on duty at their chowkie and did not want their officers to know they had bunked and were watching cricket."

"I am happy the police force of at least one state is taking interest in such a gentlemanly sport," I said.

"Oh, yes, tremendous interest," my friend said. "In the morning, when I was going to the ground, for miles around the stadium there were only policemen. When I passed through, so many times they stopped me and asked me who I was. Probably, they wanted to know if I was a cricketer, so that they could take my autograph for their children."

"It must have made you feel nice, being mistaken for a cricketer," I said.

"Well yes, to some extent," my friend said. "As for the cricketers, when they arrived, the police just surrounded them and would not let them go till they had examined them go till they had examined them thoroughly, as some of our college students here do with film stars. Bit of a nuisance, no doubt, but then their enthusiasm has to be excused since they may have never seen a cricketer before."

"True," I said. "How did the policemen enjoy the game?"

"Thoughly though they may not have understood all the finer points. But then even the Delhi people do not understand the finer points of cricket. But they were willing to learn. Throughout the game they kept asking me questions, including such questions as what I was carrying in my bag and what was in my sandwich. I suppose, they wanted to understand the whole ambience of cricket, not just want to know what was the score and whether a man was out or not out."

"Such enthusiasm deserves to be encouragad," I said. "Anything else?"

"Yes, one more thing, I must mention their sporting spirit," my friend said. "The policemen were such good sportsmen that they applauded and cheered the visiting Australians more than the home team. Now where else in India would you find such a sporting crowd!"

 
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