A British citizen has been shot dead at a kabaddi tournament in India, according to local police.
Sandeep Singh Sandhu, also known as Sandeep Nangal Ambian, was shot in Mallian Khurd, a village in the northern state of Punjab, at a contest he had helped to organise.
Police say Sandhu, 37, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest. He was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him dead.
Sandhu was a prominent player of the sport, which is a contact sport similar to rugby or British bulldog that is believed to have been played in India for thousands of years. Despite settling in Birmingham, Sandhu regularly returned to his hometown in India to play in or organise kabaddi competitions.
Sandhu is survived by a family including two young primary school-age sons.
Attack captured on video
A widely shared video on social media appears to show four people shooting guns at an outdoor stadium while someone who could be Sandhu runs away. A teenage boy is also thought to have been injured in the incident.
“He was shot with around 20-25 bullets when he was overseeing the tournament matches and was declared dead when his body reached the nearest hospital,” Parminder Singh, a Punjab state police officer, told AFP.
“We are on the hunt to nab the attackers and have launched an investigation into the whole episode.”
Gangsters have infiltrated matches
Police and locals say that in recent years the large sums of money in kabaddi have attracted criminal elements to the sport.
“Gangsters have made their entry into the kabaddi tournaments,” local sports journalist Surinderpal Singh told The Telegraph.
“They see a lot of money in the game and want their teams to win.”
Manjeet Singh Randhawa, a local police officer, said Sandhu was honoured with a trophy for organising the tournament. He was leaving the venue partway through the game when assailants attacked him, Randhawa said.
The tournament was halted and people ran for cover. In the melee, the assailants fled from the scene.
Sandhu was a former captain of the Indian team in circle-style kabaddi and also was the president of the Major League Kabaddi Federation.