The Delhi Police had arrested a national-level boxer from Haryana on Tuesday for allegedly attacking cops in Bahadurgarh.
20-year-old Deepak Pahal, a 2011 junior-lightweight national boxing champion, threw chilli powder in the eyes of cops to free a murder accused on Saturday. The police said he was expelled from Sports Authority of India (SAI) hostel after he punched a fellow boxer and broke his teeth.
However, Deepak is not the only one. The recent trends show that over half-a-dozen sportsmen from Haryana, who have represented the state and country for sports like wrestling, boxing and kabaddi, have been arrested for indulging in criminal activities in the last one year.
Recently, two kabaddi players were arrested in Rohtak for their involvement in eight murders and over a dozen other criminal activities.
27-year-old Shani Dev was a national-level kabaddi player and had represented Haryana for several events. However, he joined a gang in 2010. He, along with his accomplice and a state-level athlete, Sanjeet Singh, was arrested in July. The police said he was on a killing spree to take revenge of murder of his younger brother Sukhwinder Singh, another national-level kabaddi player, who was shot dead in March in Rohtak’s Rithal village. Experts said young sportsmen could easily slip into the world of crime after getting in wrong company since they travel a lot and meet new people. The trend shows most of the sportsmen took up crimes when they were young.
Arjuna awardee Jai Bhagwan, who got a job with Haryana Police at Hisar under sports quota, was suspended in October last year after he was caught demanding a bribe of `1 lakh from a businessman. His news garnered national headlines. Another state-level wrestler from Haryana, Sanjeev Kalia, was arrested by Delhi police in March this year for his involvement in over 200 theft incidents. According to renowned boxer Akhil Kumar, the reason for an increase in crimes among sportsmen was education. “By education, I don’t just mean academics, but the meaning of sports. Earlier, people used to play sports for fitness and learning. But now, it is all about competition. Sportsmen have started fighting a lot in jealousy, which builds up enmity,” he said.
The 35-year-old Arjuna awardee boxer said young sportsmen often lack the ability to choose right and wrong, and suggested them to take lessons from history.