Protestors and police clash in run-up to semi

MUMBAI, (Reuters) – Angry protestors clashed with police yesterday outside the stadium in Mohali where India will meet Pakistan in a World Cup semi-final which has captured the imagination of the sub-continent.

A Reuters witness said seven people had been arrested after police and security forces on horseback tried to push back an estimated 1,000-strong crowd. Indian television stations said the protests had been related to government jobs in Punjab.

Wednesday’s match is the first between the two neighbours in India since Pakistan-based militants killed 166 people in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The winners will play the victors of today’s Colombo semi-final between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Mumbai on Saturday.

In Karachi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik warned the Pakistan team they were being kept under a close scrutiny because of the recent spot-fixing scandal.

“We are taking no risks now and we are keeping a close watch on the team for the semi-final because we don’t want any more spot-fixing scandals,” Malik told reporters.

Three Pakistan players have been banned for a minimum five years each for manipulating incidents in last year’s Lord’s test against England.

Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan told Indian television channels he was appalled by what Malik had said before such an important match.

“I just hope he didn’t mean what he said as it is not good for the team,” Imran said.

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