Minerva Punjab was supposed to arrive at Jammu and Kashmir on Monday for a match but the team decided against it. The hosts, Real Kashmir FC, lamented that Punjab didn’t arrive for the I-League game, calling it a ‘sad day for football.’ Real Kashmir FC posted videos and pics from their stadium and said that it was shameful that the visitors didn’t show up. Since the Pulwama attack on February 14, Minerva refused to travel to Srinagar, citing security concerns. The club’s owner, Ranjit Bajaj tweeted about the same.
Minerva had reportedly asked the All India Football Federation to postpone the game or move it to a neutral location. That request was denied by the AIFF. India Today reports that Minerva had then written for security assurances from the Army, the Indian government or the Home Ministry. Since they didn’t get a reply, the team decided against travelling. In a statement on Twitter, Bajaj said that some of the foreign players of the club had been handed travel advisories against visiting Srinagar.
He repeated his concerns in further tweets where he highlighted the 12-hour encounter that took place on February 18 to dispose off terrorist Ghazi Rasheed. He added that Minerva is ready to play against Real Kashmir at any place but not in Kashmir. Bajaj also threatened that he’ll take legal steps if three points were deducted from their team for not arriving at Srinagar for the match.