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National Rugby players, locals held for brawling

Four national-level rugby players and a group of residents from Mhalunge village were arrested by the Hinjewadi police on Sunday night, after an argument over a petty issue turned violent near Balewadi stadium, leading to a some tension developing in the area.

The arrested accused have been identified as Suresh Chafwan, Rohit Sivach, Raj Singh Panu and Jitendra Ghama, the four rugby players, who are army personnel posted in Uttarakhand. While Kunal Padale, Ranjit Padale, Mahendra Golande, Bhushan Padale, Sagar Padale and Ashish Lokhande, are residents of Mhalunge village.

According to the police, on Sunday evening, the four players were on the bus that was about to enter the sports complex near Balewadi stadium. When the bus halted at the complex entrance, a player alighting from the vehicle bumped into Kunal padale, who was on his bike with his friends.

“This minor incident led to a verbal duel between the two and within no time the argument turned into an ugly brawl. While the boys, who were returning home after a cricket match, used bats and stumps to beat the players, the rugby players landed some heavy blows on the youths,” said C V Kindre, police sub inspector, Hinjewadi police station.

Separate teams of the Anti-Riot Squad and State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) were rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control, as the fight between the two groups threatened to get worse.

“While players must refrain from indulging in such kind of incidents, the locals need to treat players, who come from all over India, with dignity and respect,” said Janak Tekale, sport deputy director, Balewadi Sports Complex.

“Both the parties were produced in the court and are currently out on bail. The rugby players have been handed over to their respective commands, which will be taking disciplinary action against them,” said Ganapat Madgulkar, senior police inspector, Hinjewadi police station. 

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