Even as the Kings XI team was getting ready to play its inaugural match of the IPL T20 tournament on Saturday, a local NGO, Global Human Rights Council, and two pro-Hindu outfits held protests outside the stadium and lodged a complaint with the police demanding action against Zinta, Ness Wadia and other promoters of the team under The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
“It is an insult to freedom fighters and patriots. Using the names of national heroes for cricket, which is often embroiled in controversies, is inappropriate,” said Arvind Thakur, chairman of Global Human Rights Council.
As the council activists and those from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Shiv Sena held protests in front of the PCA stadium, Zinta came out with an apology announcing the withdrawal of the controversial advertisement with immediate effect.
“We apologise to the people if their sentiments have been hurt and the advertisement will be recalled with immediate effect,” Zinta, chairperson and co-promoter of Kings XI, said in a statement.
The advertisement published in some newspapers, announcing a contest for the fans, went on like this: “The stadium went silent. Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru just walked into the stands. Are you the wildest Kings XI fan in the stadium? Then you are FAN OF THE MATCH.”
It ends with a punchline: “Be there! Be Fan of the Match” promising free tickets along with return flight tickets for the next game.