On the lookout for suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militant Qayoom Asgar, the police questioned some players from the Jammu and Kashmir team who were in Jammu for a Ranji Trophy match against Hyderabad.
The questioning at the players’ hotel around midnight on December 24 — before the final day of play — did not go down well with some, but skipper Parvez Rasool played down the incident and ended up facing criticism from some quarters.
Off-spinner Rasool, whom many tip to play for India someday, told a Kashmir-based website the police did not search the players’ rooms and only asked for identity cards.
The 24-year-old faced flak from some Kashmiris on the social media. They accused him of underplaying the issue because he did not want to harm his chances of being selected to the Indian team.
Rasool is no stranger to controversy which is not of his making. In November 2009, the talented all-rounder from Bijbehara village in south Kashmir caught the nation’s attention for all the wrong reasons.
In Bangalore for an U-22 match, he was detained by the Karnataka Police at Chinnaswamy Stadium for allegedly being involved in a terrorist attack. The police had claimed traces of explosives were found in his kit. He was released after a forensic investigation cleared his name.
Even as he tried to play down the latest controversy over the midnight questioning of the players, the police too said no player was victimised as they looked for the militant who was suspected to have entered the city from Sopore.
“Search was conducted in the city and at many hotels on specific intelligence inputs. The team did search the hotel where the players were putting up, but no player was harassed or humiliated,” said Rajesh Kumar, inspector general of police, Jammu.
“Once the officials came to know that it was our own Ranji cricket team, they immediately returned from the hotel.”
The hotel’s manager also gave a similar version of events. “The police checked the identities of all the guests including the players. They did get a bit scared, but were not harassed.”