हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Protests: Security tightened at Azhars house

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Hyderabad: Security has been tightened at the residence of former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin in the face of growing protests by activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Azharuddin's private security guards are keeping a tight vigil at his residence in the upscale Banjara Hills neighborhood. The main gate and all doors and windows are always shut. Two to three guards come out each time a visitor approaches the main gate. "He has gone out," is the routine response to those seeking to meet Azharuddin. Mediapersons are asked to leave behind their visiting cards. "We will inform you if there is anything," the guards say. BJP activists burned effigies of the three players at Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh on Monday. Demanding stringent punishment to the three for their "betrayal of the nation," the party called for them to be boycotted socially. The BJP and its youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), are planning to launch an agitation over Azharuddin's presence at an 'iftar' party hosted by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu on Friday last, party sources said. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has banned Azharuddin for life for his alleged role in match-fixing. Two other players, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja, have been banned for five years each for their alleged links with bookies. Azharuddin's wife, former fashion model and actress Sangeeta Bijlani, has been in Mumbai for the past month. Azharuddin is staying alone in the house here with some "friends" while his parents, brothers and other family members stay in a separate house. Azharuddin's two sons from his first wife, Naureen, also live with his parents and spend a few days in a week with their mother. Azharuddin had divorced Naureen to marry Sangeeta in 1996. Last year Naureen married a Canada-based businessman. Sources in the family said the two sons, aged between 10 and 12 years, keep visiting Naureen and their maternal grandfather. Naureen's relatives have refrained from commenting on Azharuddin's alleged involvement in cricket match-fixing. They feel all association with him ended with the divorce and they do not wish to be dragged into any controversy. The BJP, which is an ally of Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP), criticised the chief minister for inviting Azharuddin for the 'iftar'. Though Naidu has denied having invited the cricketer, the BJP is not convinced. With Azharuddin claiming he was invited and even releasing photocopies of the invitation sent to him, the BJP has sought a clarification from Naidu. The BJP state unit is scheduled to discuss the issue and is even contemplating taking up the matter with the party's national leadership, party sources say. The BJP is all the more angry because Naidu recently refused to meet a delegation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), considered the party's ideological guardians. India Abroad News Service Extras:My silence has been mistaken: Azhar

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