The teams and players coming to India for any sporting event in the future will be subjected to proper scrutiny, the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday as Hockey India League's Pakistani signings headed home due to simmering tension on the Indo-Pak border.
"The atmosphere today, from the security point of view, is not good. We are trying, the sports ministry is trying to scrutinise all players, teams who will come to play here," Singh said.
The Indo-Pak tension at the LoC (Line of Control) on Tuesday spilled over to the sporting arena with Hockey India deciding to send back all the nine Pakistani recruits after protests over the killing of Indian soldiers on the border.
The Pakistani players, however, insisted that politics and sports should not be mixed.
"Our message is, never mix sports and politics. We are satisfied with our team management. It is a mutual decision of Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation, and that is why we are going," said Imran Butt, who was signed by Mumbai Magicians.
"Given another opportunity, we will come back and play. We are thankful to the hockey federation and our Mumbai team management," he added.
Another Mumbai recruit, Muhammad Tousiq, also hoped that they would come back next time.
"I am not disappointed, we were treated very well. There are problems now, but Insha Allah we will come back next time," Tousiq told CNN-IBN.
Mahmood Rashid, also of the Mumbai franchise, called it a "bad luck".
"Like my other colleagues, I, too, would have loved to play in India. But it is our bad luck that we are leaving," he said.
Fareed Ahmed felt sportspersons are harbingers of peace.
"Sports and politics should never be mixed. The players always promote peace and harmony," Ahmed said.
Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images