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Jan 13, 2013 at 05:50pm IST

Mumbai: Shiv Sena workers protest against Pakistan hockey players, practice halted

Mumbai: Workers of the Shiv Sena on Sunday gathered at the Bombay Hockey Association (BHA) stadium in Mumbai on Sunday to protest against the Pakistani hockey players, who are in India to participate in Hockey India League. The players were reportedly escorted away from the stadium where they were practising with the Indian hockey team following the protest.

The protest came after ceasefire violation across the Line of Control in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Two Indian soldiers were allegedly killed by Pakistan army on January 8 and one of them was found with his head severed, resulting in heavy cross-fire across the LoC from both the sides.

The Indian High Commission had on Friday issued visas to the nine Pakistani players bound for the inaugural Hockey India League starting next week. The players reached India on Saturday.

The nine players are Mohammed Rizwan Jr, Mohammed Rizwaan Sr (Delhi Wave Riders), Sayeed Kashif Shah (Punjab Warriors ), Shafqat Rasool, Mohammed Irfan (Ranchi Rhinos), Mahmood Tousiq, Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed and Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians). The Pakistani players were bought by four of the five franchises during the HIL players' auction in New Delhi on December 16, 2012.

The much-anticipated five-team HIL is scheduled to begin in New Delhi on Monday and will conclude in Ranchi on February 10. Earlier, a question mark had cropped up over the participation of the Pakistan players in the league when none of the nine players contracted with four HIL franchisees arrived in the country with just a few days remaining for the start of the tournament.

With additional information from PTI