The Indian Hockey League found itself in the midst of a controversy due to its move of releasing the nine Hockey Players that had come from Pakistan, thereby denying them the opportunity to play in the Indian Hockey League 2013. Such a move has found its bedrock in the recent tension that has erupted on Indo Pak borders, due to yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan, following mutilation of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistani soldiers.
Narinder Batra, the secretary General of Hockey India said,”All have approved this decision. The contract money for 2013 will be paid in full to the Pakistani players and HI stands are committed in guaranteeing the same.” The Secretary General also said that the franchisees that had the Pakistani players would be given time and opportunity to find replacements in their teams.
The Shiv sena had earlier threatened to vandalise the stadiums if the Pakistani players took to the stadiums and were allowed to play. However, the HI federation clearly maintains that their decision was not an impulsive reaction to the threats of an organization but a decision in which all top executive members sat down and discussed the intensity of the situation and the hurt sentiments of the nation.
This move of the HI federation has found both bouquets and brickbats. Aruna of Hindu college says, “Its absolutely the right thing to do. When Indian artists go to Pakistan, they are never treated with respect. Pakistan has no respect for India. Why should we be the meek cats always?”
However, Rishabh of Ramjas college says, “ Banning artists and sportspersons is not the solution. The problem exists because of a deep rooted hostility towards citizens of the other country. Such moves will only aggravate and perpetuate the hostility”.
The players who went back are: Fareed Ahmed, Imran Butt, Mahmood Rashid and Muhammad Tousiq (all Mumbai Magicians); Muhammad Rizwan Sr. and Muhammad Rizwan Jr. (Delhi Waveriders); Muhammad Irfan and Shafqat Rasool (Ranchi Rhinos); and Kashif.