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Cricket teams in Kashmir named after terrorists

first_imgTerrorist sympathisers in Kashmir have named cricket teams participating in local tournaments after militants, a trend security officials say should be nipped in the bud to avoid “huge problems”.A cricket tournament was recently played in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district which had few participating teams named after terrorists like Aabid Khan Qalandars, Khalid Aryans and Burhan Lions.While Burhan has emerged as one of the most wanted commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen over the past one year, Khalid was his brother who was killed in a security forces’ operation.Burhan had shot into prominence in late 2015 after he uploaded pictures of himself and his comrades on a social networking site.Several of the 11 terrorists featuring in those pictures have been eliminated but Burhan remains elusive for the security forces.Many sports events, named after slain terrorists and separatist leaders, have been held over the past 20 years in different parts of Kashmir.Shaheed-e-Millat cricket tournament, organised in memory of Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq – slain father of Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is not a regular feature in the cricketing calendar of Srinagar.However, this time the security forces seem to be concerned over the latest move. “If this practice is not nipped in the bud, it can create a huge problem in coming months and years. The psyche of the impressionable minds is sought to be influenced,” a security official said.He said before the onset of militancy in the state, a football club was formed in the memory of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat following his hanging in Tihar Jail in 1984. “This club would take part in tournaments within and outside Kashmir and seemingly there was nothing wrong with it. However, when militancy erupted, several players joined the ranks,” the official said.advertisementNational Conference working president Omar Abdullah saw a link between the trend of naming cricket teams after militants and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti representing south Kashmir in Lok Sabha.”Lest we forget this South Kashmir being mentioned is Mehbooba Mufti’s Lok Sabha constituency,” Omar said. Ruling PDP leaders chose not to comment on the issue.last_img read more