Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday once again played the Tamil card and wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that no Sri Lankan player should play the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in her state. Raking up the alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lankan armed forces against Tamils in the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Jayalalithaa said that there was a lot of anger in the state against what happened in the island nation.
In her letter, Jayalalithaa said, "In view of the popular antipathy and anger in Tamil Nadu against the actions of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government of Tamil Nadu is of the view that IPL matches involving Sri Lankan players, umpires and other officials should not be played in Tamil Nadu. The Government of Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu, only if the organizers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff would participate in these matches".
Earlier in February, Jayalalithaa had cancelled the Asian Athletics meet saying Sri Lankan players would not be allowed in Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK supremo had also asked the Central government to move amendments to the US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka over war crimes against ethnic Tamils. "Don't just support the US-backed resolution on Lankan Tamils issue at UNHRC, but strengthen it through suitable amendments," Jayalalithaa had written in a letter to PM Manmohan. India finally voted against Sri Lanka at the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
Jayalalithaa said the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) may be advised by the central government to prevail upon the IPL to not allow any Sri Lankans to take part in the tournament in Tamil Nadu.
Referring to the human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamils and the continued attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, she said: "All political parties in Tamil Nadu have repeatedly voiced their grave concern regarding these issues. The atmosphere is, therefore, already surcharged with a groundswell of popular public opinion against the Sri Lankan government."
She said the state government apprehended that the participation of Sri Lankans in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, would aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people.
Meanwhile, the participation of Sri Lankan players in the sixth season of the IPL remains doubtful, according to reports on Tuesday. Chennai Super Kings, who have Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dhananjaya in their squad, are waiting for the government and the BCCI decision before making a final call on their players' participation.
Sri Lankan Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage said there was no need to communicate with the Tamil Nadu government over the issue and that Sri Lanka is coordinating with the BCCI and the Indian government. "We have asked the BCCI and the Indian government to ensure security for players. If the Indian government doesn't provide security, players will be asked not play in Tamil Nadu," Aluthgamage said.
Former Sri Lankan spinner Muralitharan said, "If IPL asks us not to play, we will not play. Cannot comment as no one from IPL has contacted yet".
List of Sri Lankan players contracted to the eight IPL teams:
Sun Risers - Hyderabad:
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Chennai Super Kings:
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
(With Additional Inputs From IANS)