Burhan Killing aftermath: Kashmir loses date with sports calendar

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SRINAGAR: After a month long break thanks to Ramadan and Eid celebrations, sports activities were all set to return to Kashmir, but the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Muzzafar Wani-followed by the killing of dozens of protesters, curfews and shutdown- meant sports fields present a deserted look across the valley. 

The killing of charismatic commander from Tral was followed by massive protests across the breadth and length of the Valley, which was met with bullets and pellets by the government, killing more than 40 people. Consequently normal life was thrown out of gear in Kashmir-marked with protests, curfews and shutdowns. Sports activities have been affected as well with no action reported from the sports arena. 

Kashmir had virtually no sports activities in the month of Ramadanwith administrators deciding to go for a break keeping in consideration the religious obligations and fitness levels of the players. 

The sports administrators of two prominent sports-Football and Cricket- had announced their post-Eid schedules but couldn’t see the light of the day due to prevailing situation.

Jammu and Kashmir Football Association- the custodians of the sports in the state- had a menu full of activities for July and August with its major tournaments fixtured to be conducted in these two months. 

The actionwas set to begin with low profile B Division League to be coincided with a CRPF sponsored tourney.

“We had so many tournaments lined up this summer, but the current situation has meant that sports activities were thrown out of gear. We had made lot of preparations, but we can’t do much about it,” says a JKFA official.

He believes that A and Super Division leagues will also be affected with the schedule gone awry already.

“I don’t see football activities returning anytime soon as there have been lots of killings and it won’t be appropriate to start the action even if situations gets better,” he says. 

JKFA’s newly designed-Premier League-a nine team ‘flagship’ tournament- which the association marketed about to be the toast of the summer- could also become a casualty. 

J&K Police Martyrs Memorial Tournament and a couple of tournaments would be a difficulty to conduct if the situation shows no improvement.

Likewise, many a premier cricket tourney couldn’t be restarted post Eid festivities.

Two of the major tournaments that had witnessed massive participation both in terms of teams and fans couldn’t be resumed after they were suspended for a month due to Ramadan.

Late GM Gilkar Memorial in Bijbehara and Budgam Premier League in Budgam were making inroads in terms of fan following and were all set to begin their remaining fixtures after Eid, but killings, curfews and shutdowns meant no action on cricket turfs.

With 2016-17 first class season approaching, Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association’s preparations to conduct tournaments and selection trails are expected to get affected if there is no improvement in the situation on the streets of Kashmir that have been bloodied over the last two weeks or so.

As of now, sports calendar in Kashmir has been disturbed due to unrest and if it continues to be so in the near future whole season getting washed out could well be a possibility. 

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