New Delhi: Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) on Monday asked Hockey India (HI) to immediately stop the participation of the Pakistani players in the Hockey India League (HIL) in protest of the recent killing of Indian armymen by Pakistan regular soldiers.
On January 8, Pakistani regular soldiers had crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers, one of whom was decapitated. "Hockey India which is organising the League and invited Pak players have not reacted to this barbaric and heinous act against Indian soldiers and have gone ahead in welcoming Pakistan players to play in the proposed League organised by them. The Hockey India should immediately restrict Pakistan players to play in the proposed league in protest to brutalities committee by the Pak terrorists," said KPS Gill, Patron and Chief Advisor of IHF, in a statement.
"The Chairman of Hockey India League Mr Narindra Batra and Mr Arun Jatley, who is the Director of the Board of HIL and close associate of Mr Batra in DDCA and Mr Rajiv Shukla, another director of HIL are unmoved of the brutal murder and then mutilating the dead bodies of Indian soldiers by Pak terrorists at the LOC. HIL should have barred their participation immediately," he added.
Gill expressed sympathies for the family of the two soldiers and appealed the players and others involved to boycott the event if Pakistani players are allowed to participate in the league. "We appeal to players and their respective Government departments, services and PSU's to withdraw from the Hockey League in case the Pakistan players are allowed to play to express solidarity with the Indian soldiers and sympathies with the families of the Martyrs," he said.
"I, On behalf of the Indian Hockey Federation, condemn with deep anguish this most barbaric act of the Pakistan forces and express our sympathies to the families of the great martyrs who sacrificed their lives to protect our nation," he added.
Former IHF president Gill expressed surprise at the fact that while Pakistani players are not allowed to participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL), they are being invited to play in the HIL. "It is surprising that Mr Arun Jetley who is very vocal in recalling our High Commissioner back from Islamabad is silent and indecisive on the issue of not playing Pak players in the Hockey League and instead encouraging their participation," he said.
"Notably, Mr Jetley and Mr Batra are closely associated with cricket in DDCA and Mr Rajiv Shukla is the chairman of IPL governing body which doesn't allow players from Pakistan to play in IPL after the Mumbai terror attack. There cannot be two sets of rules for two leagues especially when the governing body for both comprises of almost same persons."