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Tension at LoC hits India-Pakistan sporting ties; hockey, cricket suffer

CNN-IBN
Jan 15, 2013 at 02:08pm IST

New Delhi: The firing at the India-Pakistan border now seems to be hitting sporting ties between the two countries. The ruling Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra has chosen to remain silent as the Shiv Sena forced Pakistani players off the inaugural Hockey India League match in Mumbai on Monday. Sources say the BCCI will write to the ICC suggesting a change of venue in the Women's World Cup, which has Pakistan players participating, too.

But sources have told CNN-IBN that Hockey India had asked teams not to play Pakistani players in the opening games of the Hockey India League on Monday. The Pakistani players in the squads of Delhi and Punjab were not seen in action at the inaugural matches.

ALSO SEE Anti-Pakistan protesters try to disrupt Hockey India League

The team managements, though, clarified that they didn't play because they had landed in the country just a day before the match. The Mumbai team though, with four players from across the border has been forced to shift its practice base to the capital before their game against Delhi on January 16 after Shiv Sena protests outside their practice facility on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Mahrashtra Home Ministry sources have told CNN-IBN, "It is not just the state govt but also the Central Government (and its agencies) that are currently engaged in consultations on how to deal with the matter."

This comes as protestersinvaded the pitch and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans during the inaugural match of the Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Monday, demonstrating their anger over the participation of Pakistan players in the league. A couple of men carrying placards went onto the playing area that is strictly prohibited.

This comes as tension grips the India-Pakistan border after two Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani soldiers and one of them was beheaded. However, despite the tension, India is continuing with its visa liberalisation to Pakistani senior citizens, who are getting visas on arrival. Pakistani citizens above the age of 65 years will not be required to report to the police. They will be allowed to move freely across India. However, they will not be allowed to visit Kashmir, Punjab and Kerala.

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