Rashid Mehmood, Fareed Ahmed, Imran Butt, Mohammad Tauseeq, Mohammed Rizwan Jr., Mohammed Rizwan Sr, Kashif Shah, Muhammed Irfan, Shafqat Rasool, hockey india league, hil, indian hockey, pakistan hockey, hockey, champions trophy, champions trophy 2012, mumbai magicians, shiv sena, shiv sena hockey, shiv sena pakistan
Goalkeeper Imran Butt and three other Pakistani players are part of the Mumbai Magicians. -Photo by AFP

MUMBAI: A new franchise-based Indian hockey league faces the prospect of being forced out of Mumbai after heightened regional political tensions led to protests against Pakistani players competing in the IPL-style event on Sunday.

Following the latest outbreak of violence in disputed Kashmir, around 100 workers of the hardline right-wing Shiv Sena party protested at a stadium where the Mumbai Magicians team, who have four Pakistani players in their squad, were practising. Rashid Mehmood, Fareed Ahmed, Imran Butt and Mohammad Tauseeq are the fours players in the Mumbai team, while the other five are Mohammed Rizwan Jr., Mohammed Rizwan Sr (Delhi Wave Riders), Kashif Shah (Punjab Warriors), Muhammed Irfan and Shafqat Rasool (Ranchi Rhinos).

The players had to be whisked away and the team subsequently left Mumbai on Monday for New Delhi, where the inaugural match of the five-team Hockey India League (HIL) will be held.

Local organisers are unsure if they will be able to hold the franchise's home matches in Mumbai if Pakistani players remain in the side.

“It does not depend any longer on the HIL and the players. It will now depend on the government of India's stand and the government of Maharashtra's stand,” Ram Singh Rathore, the secretary of Mumbai Hockey Association, told Reuters.

“I think it will be a very difficult situation if we have to play with the Pakistani players in Mumbai.

The Mumbai police said they had beefed up security at the practice venue after they became aware of the protests.

“No players are there in Mumbai currently. We will hold discussions with the HIL and understand their plans and make arrangements accordingly,” Ravindra Shishve, the deputy commissioner of police (Zone-I), said by phone.

“It is too premature for me to speak about the details of the arrangements.”


Four soldiers were killed last week in the worst outbreak of violence at the Line of Control, which divides disputed Kashmir, since the nuclear-armed neighbours agreed a ceasefire in 2003.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Ties were soured again in 2008 when gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in a three-day rampage with India blaming a Pakistani militant group for the massacre.

Shiv Sena, who dug up the Wankhede Stadium pitch in 1991 on the eve of a test match between the two countries, called for the players' visas be cancelled.

“We will not allow Pakistani players or artists to perform here,” Rahul Narvekar, a spokesperson for the Hindu right-wing party, told Reuters.

“Pakistan is involved in militant attacks on India and you are letting them make money in India... this is injustice to the martyrs who have died in these attacks.”

The city was also omitted as a venue last month when Pakistan toured India for its first bilateral cricket series in seven years.

Mumbai is scheduled to hold its first HIL match on Sunday but Rathore said that the issue needed to be discussed at the highest level of administration before they could proceed.

“Yesterday was only a practice session, so we could manage it. But what will we do if such things happen when the whole stadium is packed with spectators?” Rathore added.

“It is not only a question for the players but it has to deal with the safety and security of the crowd also.

“It's always a problem in Mumbai if you are holding matches which have Pakistan players. I was speaking to the police and they also have their own concerns.”

Comments are closed.

Comments (41)

January 14, 2013 6:13 pm
How long you will keep on judging others and not have a look at yourself ?
Ahmed j
January 14, 2013 1:40 pm
who will show this hidden face of booming economy to the developed world?
January 14, 2013 6:12 pm
Than play in your own coutry.
January 14, 2013 11:48 am
Shiv sena is correct in doing so. No peace deal with Pakistan any more.
January 15, 2013 2:52 pm
It did NOT survive. Remember 1971.
January 15, 2013 2:38 pm
Hahaha Talking about peaceful relationships.. Forget about neighbours u tell me one country in the world who wants to have any sort of relationship with u guys. No Sporting events hosted in ur country 4 long... Ur tourism in non exixtent...PlZZZZZ wake up and smell ur Chai Cofee or watever u like 2 drink...Get a reality check ASAP.
Asif Kahsmiri
January 14, 2013 12:24 pm
shows the true face of india
Mushtaq Ahmad
January 14, 2013 12:36 pm
January 15, 2013 5:55 am
Mr. Scott, take Pak players in your country and play. There can be violation of LOC on either side but not the ethics which PAK military lacks in all aspects. We cannot tolerate mutilation of Indian soldiers for no reasons. Hence we are protesting and we will do so until they stop.
Abe G
January 15, 2013 5:38 am
Mr. J Sandhu, you and the rest of RSS are living in a disillusioned state of mind. We are equally sick of your attitude and prejudice mind. Read the blog here and in many other Pakistani news papers and you will never find the absolute filthy and derogatory language towards religion or people of faith. Read any news pertaining to Pakistan in TOI (India's largest circulated news paper) and please compare to the comments here and you will clearly see the difference in peoples mind set and language and respect for their faith. In the name of free press TOI backed by the extreme fanatic allows the most derogatory language and utmost hatred towards Pakistani's and their religion and all, irrespective of the feelings of larger Muslim population of Muslims in India, Tell me one country/neighbor that India has good relations with. NON !NON !NON !. What give you the false feeling about yourself that we are desperate to have good relation with India ? Your sensible people understands that peace and normal relation is the only way out for both. There are many like your mind set here in Pakistan too and we have learned to bypass them. If Idnia wants to prosper in the real way she will have to have good relations with its neighbor's and there is no other way out for India or its neighbors.By having few billion-er's and rest total poppers is no progress . Wake up and smell the coffee/Chai and come out of the hole and begin seeing this world from a logical eye and mind
Ali Vaqar Awan
January 15, 2013 4:37 am
This statement deserves lots of thumbs up rather thump down. Scott has made a strong and solid point. Why let the game ruin due to just minoirity protesting. Politics has to be kept seperate from sports as its intermixing can add more complication. We see sports to enjoy action, not for some timid political agendas.
January 14, 2013 5:26 pm
Stop this contact, your Army will not allow peace between us. First control your Army then we can have contact, otherwise people will continue to die. If it doesnt bother you, let me tell you it concerns us, and that is why Indians dont want any contact with you. You may not like this coment, but that is the way it is.
January 15, 2013 2:48 am
from where have u taken education....any blind can say after seeing mumbai attack and this LOC provocation that who always start tension.....pak is a failed state,,,no country want to come and play cricket or any sport in ur country....still u accusing our country
Akil Akhtar
January 15, 2013 2:31 am
same goes for you
Akil Akhtar
January 15, 2013 2:32 am
The hate mongering in idia is at its peak
Mohammad Farooq
January 15, 2013 2:36 am
Obviously you have the right to say this. But remember Shri! we just beat the shit out of India in one day series in India.
yusuf khan
January 15, 2013 2:05 am
What crisis you are talking of ? India is very normal. Crisis are lying everywhere in your sweet Pakistan.
January 14, 2013 5:07 pm
Thats true.
January 14, 2013 1:48 pm
Do you think world does not know Indian face? Ask them about Pakistan and listen to what they say!
January 14, 2013 1:28 pm
I swear. They can't seem to get over the fact that Pakistan's survived as an independent nation for 65 years now, that too being a nuclear state.
January 14, 2013 4:30 pm
You are right, we do not need any peace deal with you india either, since you have deep hatred for pakistan in your minds and it shows up every time your spy agency play their games.....
January 14, 2013 4:16 pm
You need our players as much as our players need to play Indian League...It is a mutually beneficial deal! I guess with the current Crisis in India due to deteriorating economy and many social and political issues, it has turned on Pakistan to divert attention of the public....
January 15, 2013 12:34 pm
people read TOI just to get informed about bollywood and entertainment. Tribune, The Hindu, Statesman are the indian newspaper to read.
January 15, 2013 8:06 am
Tame ur ISI and Army first, put them under civilian control, then we will think about Cricket or Hockey. We have no issue with people to people contact but we dont want to burn our fingers again and again.
sheikh khalid
January 14, 2013 2:31 pm
Pakistan has for to long tried to make peace with India, and the indians have always found reasons to make trouble for the pakistanis. Pakistan must not have any links to India untill the indians have a change of mindset.
January 15, 2013 6:25 am
India is ready to go an extra mile to improve relation with Pakistan. Most-Favoured- Nation Status to Pakistan, easing the visa regime for Pakistani Nationals, allowing Pakistani artistes to perform in India and reap a windfall bounty are but a few examples of Indian favours unilaterally shown to Pakistan. But export of terrorism, beheading of Indian soldiers are what we have been getting in return . Why ??
January 14, 2013 12:54 pm
We thank Shev Sena for giving us the feeling how disturbing it is for him Pakistani nation...good luck
Scott (Australia)
January 14, 2013 12:59 pm
For the benefit of hockey and improving ties between India and Pakistan, please let the Pakistan players play. Don't let a few protesters ruin it for the hockey fans!
January 14, 2013 12:40 pm
Why give Pakistan players money and fame for playing in India. None of Pakistan actors,singers,and all others should not be allowed to earn here.
Dunga Dunga
January 14, 2013 3:42 pm
It is an hour for Indian hockey league to feature Pakistani Hockey player and to make this event exciting with lots of talent pitching in by Pakistani Player otherwise it would have looked like a school hockey tourny. You should be greatlful to Pakistani Team.
January 14, 2013 11:53 am
Appeal to our neigbours.................Forgive Pakistan for being an independent nuclear state
January 14, 2013 2:01 pm
the indian media is trying to spread hatred b/w both the countries, whereas i think other activities such as sports, business, singing etc has nothing to do with this issue..
Ajaya K Dutt
January 14, 2013 1:33 pm
Appeal to our neighbours............. We do not want to convert but and please do not send any more terrorists.
January 14, 2013 12:15 pm
Pack up and go back guys. Honestly we dont want to see u play in our country till you give up violence.
January 14, 2013 12:14 pm
no one is know correct what is happening in border who is right or wrong being a kashmir if you want to know truth i can explain
January 14, 2013 1:38 pm
What is the benefit of pandering an enemy? India does not need Pakistan as playing partner. Why that should bother you?
January 14, 2013 1:41 pm
it dosnt matter how up ur r u know when u will learn when ur family will affect form these attecks
January 14, 2013 1:38 pm
how abt pakistani what they want show
January 16, 2013 11:18 am
Because we did not wanted a crying child
January 15, 2013 7:46 pm
if your neighbour kills your family members will u play cricket with him same day , pls reply ur answer and try to love life of yours and others
January 15, 2013 7:49 pm
u show india face what proble r u having with india,
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