The Hockey Indian league seemed to have run into controversies even before the start of its inaugural edition. A bunch of activists belonging to Shiv Sena, a political outfit based out of Maharashtra in India have protested against the participation of Pakistan players in the league. The activists arrived at the Churchgate Stadium where the Mumbai Magicians franchise was scheduled to conduct a practice session. Four players of the Mumbai team belonged to Pakistan and they were whisked away from the ground. Moreover, 21 Shiv Sainiks were also taken into custody.
Nearly 100 Shiv Sena supporters were estimated to be present in the venue. The Sainiks started shouting slogans as soon as the Mumbai team arrived for its practice session at 2.30 pm. As the players went into the changing rooms, the Sainiks mobbed the stands and continued shouting their chants. Soon, four Pakistani players-Mahmood Tousiq, Imran Butt, Mahmood Rashid and Fareed Ahmed-were evacuated through a rear exit and were taken straight to their hotel.
By then, the police and several senior officials arrived at the scene and detained 21 protesters under the Bombay Police Act. Deputy commissioner of police Ravindra Shishve, in an interview, stated that elaborate security cover has been provided for all the players. Meanwhile, several Shiv Sena leaders have threatened to disrupt all HIL matches played in Mumbai that involved Pakistan players. It is interesting to see how the events would unfold once the tournament begins on January 14.
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Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.