Harbhajan Singh injured in police assault

Published: Monday, March 18, 2002, 23:42 [IST]
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Guwahati: India's leading spinner Harbhajan Singh was injured on Monday after being assaulted by police outside the team hotel, witnesses said. "Harbhajan was bleeding profusely and his hands were bruised," an employee of the hotel told reporters. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has lodged a complaint with Assam state's government, officials said. "It was a very unfortunate incident and we have told the district magistrate and other senior officials about the matter," Indian team manager Sunil Khanna said.

"Harbhajan was already carrying an injury in his finger and the scuffle that followed with the police further aggravated the wounds. There was some bleeding and he was given first aid by a doctor." Team officials said most of the players were 'very upset' after the incident. India takes on Zimbabwe in the fifth and final One-day International in this eastern city on Tuesday with the two teams locked 2-2.

Witnesses said the trouble began when a Delhi-based sports photographer wanted to go inside the hotel to meet Singh. "When the policemen didn't allow the photographer entry inside the hotel, Singh came down to the gate and asked the security to let him in as the photographer had a valid pass from the Indian team manager," the witness said. "What followed was total chaos with policemen assaulting both Singh and the photographer, hitting them very badly."

Assam's police chief Hare Krishna Deka said, "The police officer, who was at the hotel should have been able to handle the situation." "It was unfortunate that there was trouble," he told reporters. "If we get a formal complaint from the BCCI then we shall conduct a probe and find out what actually happened." Police had taken strict security precautions ahead of the match, barring Indian and Zimbabwean cricketers from leaving their hotels without escorts. Indian authorities are battling a number of separatist militant groups in Assam, where more than 10,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the past two decades.

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