Former India pacer and Delhi chief selector Amit Bhandari was allegedly assaulted by Under-23 player Anuj Dedha and his accomplices at the St. Stephen’s Ground on Monday, where he was overseeing state senior team’s selection trial match for the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Trophy. Bhandari, 40, sustained injuries on his head, chest and knee and was admitted to Sant Parmanand Hospital, where he underwent a CT scan.
Sukhwinder Singh, Delhi’s U-23 team selector and one of the eyewitnesses, said the incident took place at 1.15pm after Dedha got into a heated argument with Bhandari and slapped him. His accomplices, armed with iron rods and hockey sticks, then came charging to attack the chief selector. Dedha’s alleged grouse against Bhandari was due to his repeated snub from the U-23 squad.
“Bhandari, Delhi senior coach Mithun Manhas, bowling coach Parvinder Awana and I were watching the selection trial match, when Dedha came forward and asked Bhandari why he was not picked for the U-23 squad. In reply, he was told that his game was not up to the mark and so he didn’t make the cut,” Sukhwinder told The Indian Express.
According to Sukhwinder, Dedha slapped Bhandari and caught hold of him by his collar. When Manhas and Sukhwinder tried to intervene, Dedha shot out a stern warning: “You guys stay out of it. If you intervene, I have a revolver… and will shoot you guys.” They were obviously taken aback by the sequence of events, and were too shocked to react, when Dedha’s aides charged them.
“There were five guys waiting outside the premises of the St. Stephen’s College, while 15 others entered after scuffing up the lone security guard manning the entrance. Even as they stopped us and the rest of the players from intervening, Dedha hit him with a hockey stick before aiming for Bhandari’s head.”
According to Sukhwinder, Dedha stopped once he saw Bhandari bleeding from the head, and escaped before cops arrived. Dedha and one of his accomplices, Naresh, were later apprehended. “We are looking into the matter and a case has been registered after recording the statement of the victim. A complaint has been lodged with the Kashmere Gate Police Station, and a case under sections 308, 506 and 34 of IPC has been registered. Dedha and his aide Naresh have been apprehended,” Nupur Prasad, Deputy Commissioner of Police (north) said.
Dedha, a resident of the Nangloi area, has been on the list of probables of Delhi’s U-23 squad for the last four years. However, repeated snubs had reportedly left the medium-pacer disgruntled. “I had a chat with him about his game and explained to him why he was not included in the team. In fact, his elder brother Akash had approached me last month when the camp for the U-23 team was on, to ask me why Anuj was repeatedly getting ignored,” Sukhwinder recounted.
Bishen Singh Bedi and Gautam Gambhir, Delhi’s two foremost cricketers condemned the incident on social media. “Absolutely unpardonable. These hooligans must be brought to book asap to bring sanity to selection proceedings. No violence can be tolerated to push for selection no matter how deserving…DDCA wake up and ACT kindly,” Bedi tweeted, while Gambhir posted: “Disgusted to see this happen right in the heart of the Capital. This can’t slip under the carpet and I will personally ensure it doesn’t. To begin with I am calling for a life ban from all cricket for the player who orchestrated this attack post his non-selection.”
Bloody terrible…this kind o goondaism is reflective of overall lawlessness in the Capital..the daring of miscreants must be dealt with severely or else respectful officials would require security protection..& then there’s no end to this ghastly malaise..!!
— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) February 11, 2019
Disgusted to see this happen right in the heart of the Capital. This can’t slip under the carpet and I will personally ensure it doesn’t. To begin with I am calling for a life ban from all cricket for the player who orchestrated this attack post his non-selection. https://t.co/RpS6fzTcNl
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) February 11, 2019
DDCA president Rajat Sharma insisted the guilty will not be spared. “As far as I have come to know, it is regarding one frustrated player, who didn’t make it to Delhi’s U-23 team. The SHO from the local police station reached the St. Stephen’s ground and I have spoken to the Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik,” Sharma said. After undergoing the CT scan, and regular tests for precaution, Bhandari was kept under observation before being duly discharged. “The scans and the tests are normal, which is why we have decided to discharge him this evening. However, he has five stitches on his head, apart from injuries on his chest. He had swelling on his knee as well,” a doctor at the emergency ward said.