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IHF urges HI to bar Pak players

New Delhi: The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has asked Hockey India (HI) to immediately stop the participation of the Pakistani players in the Hockey India League in protest of the recent killing of Indian armymen, allegedly by Pakistan soldiers, in Jammu & Kashmir.

On January 8, Pakistan soldiers reportedly crossed into the Indian territory, in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers.

“Hockey India, which is organising the League and has invited the Pak players, has not reacted to this barbaric and heinous act against the Indian soldiers and have gone ahead in welcoming the Pakistan players to play in the League.

“Hockey India should immediately stop the Pakistan players’ participation in the League in protest of the brutalities committed,” said KPS Gill, patron and chief advisor of IHF, in a statement.

“The chairman of HIL, Mr Narendra Batra, Mr Arun Jaitley, who is the director of the board of HIL and a close associate of Mr Batra in the DDCA, and Mr Rajeev Shukla, another director of HIL, are unmoved.

“The HIL should have barred the Pakistan players from participating,” he added.

Gill expressed sympathies for the families of the two soldiers and appealed to the players, and others involved, to boycott the league if the Pakistani players are allowed to participate.

“I, on behalf of the IHF, condemn with deep anguish this most barbaric act of the Pakistan forces and express our sympathies for the families of the great martyrs who sacrificed their lives to protect our nation,” he added.

Referring to the bar on the Pakistani cricketers’ participation in the Indian Premier League, Gill, a former IHF president, said: “It is surprising that Mr Arun Jaitley, who is very vocal in recalling our High Commissioner back from Islamabad, is silent and indecisive on the issue of not allowing the Pakistan players in the hockey league and instead is encouraging their participation,” he said.