Tral: Four days after the final match of a cricket tournament named after the slain brother of Hizbul Mujahideen’s top commander Burhan Wani culminated in south Kashmir’s Tral sub-district, the police have begun profiling the organisers of the event. A police officer told the organisers that they have strict instructions from higher-ups to verify as to who prompted them to organise the event and how it was financed.
Three teams participating in the event were named after alleged militants of the area. Burhan Lions is named after Hizb Divisional Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani while Aabid Khan Qalandars is christened after Hizb militant Aabid Khan, who died in a gunfight with Rashtriya Rifles (which also killed the latter’s Commanding Officer, Col MN Rai) on January 27, 2015 at Handura village in the area. The Khalid Aryans team is named after Burhan’s, brother Khalid Muzaffar, who was killed last year when he had gone to meet his militant brother in Buchoo forests of the area.
The two-month-long tournament saw the participation of 16 teams from the town and surrounding areas. The Khalid Aryans lifted the trophy on Sunday, after the final was played at the local Eidgah where dozens of militants and civilians, including Khalid Muzaffar, killed by government forces during the past 26 years have been buried in one portion of the expansive Waqf ground.
Khalid’s father, Muzaffar Ahmad Wani, who is the principal of a local secondary school, was the chief guest at the event.
“Everything was smooth after the event but today we have started receiving calls from the police. They are asking as to why we organised the event,” Mohammad Maqbool Maccha, captain of the winning side told Kashmir Reader on the phone.
Sources said four organisers of the event — Bilal Ahmad, Muzammil Bhat, Wasim Ahmad Trag and Nisar Ahmad — were summoned to the police station. They were asked to disclose the purpose of the event and how it was financed. “We showed them all our accounts. The event was organised for youth involvement and love for the game. There was no other purpose,” said an organiser.
President of Civil Society Tral, Ishfaq Ahmad Kar, who was also at the prize distribution ceremony said that the police was unnecessarily harassing the local boys. “Tral is a peaceful area. There should not be any attempt to vitiate the atmosphere,” he told Kashmir Reader.
An organiser quizzed by the police said that police have cooked up stories that the event was financed by Burhan Wani. “Give us the details of Rs 10 lakh provided to you by Hizbul Mujahideen,” he quoted a police officer as saying. He denied that the Hizbul Mujahideen had any role in the event. “We organised the tournament in a transparent way,” he said.
Kar said no organiser or participant has been arrested, but calling them to the police station has created a sense of insecurity. “We are meeting the SP tomorrow. We will advise him not to blow the incident out of proportion,” he said.
Superintendent of Police, Awantipora, Shridhar Patil, denied that any arrests have been made in connection with the cricket tournament.