Chennai: Protests in Tamil Nadu against the participation of Sri Lankan players in the Indian Premier League have drawn sharp reactions. Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has said that politics is ruining ties between India and Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lankan players should stay away if they're not welcome and that they have all the right to boycott the Indian Premier League.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, Ranatunga said, "Politics between Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi is most unfortunate. Jaya and Karuna are trying to do vote bank politics. Sri Lankan players should not consider playing for money, but should have some pride and pull out of IPL. Sports should not be dragged into politics."
On Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board gave a go ahead to its players to participate in the IPL. In a statement to the media, the criket board announced that the No Objection Certificates issued to the players will be restricted to excluding their players from appearing at any venue inside Tamil Nadu.
The board also made it clear that the restriction would be applied if and when the players intend to play at all. The Sri Lankan cricket board remained apprehensive about the safety of Lankan players in India during the tournament. Board Secretary Nishanth Ranatunga said the final decision would be that of the players.
"We have told the players in consultation with the BCCI in connection with the Sports Ministry of Sri Lanka, if the players wish to go for the matches we will allow them to go and play other than in Tamil Nadu. We are concerned about the players' security but we have been told that security with regard to them playing in other states will not be an issue. So that is fine we've allowed them. If the players are happy to go, we will release names," Nishanth Ranatunga.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Wednesday unanimously adopted the resolution urging the Centre to slap economic embargo on Colombo till the "suppression" of Tamils was stopped and those responsible for "genocide and war crimes" faced an international probe. Moving the resolution, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa said the ongoing students protest was reflective of her government's initiate on the Sri Lankan issue even as she requested them to withdraw the stir and resume classes.
The resolution came close on the heels of Jayalalithaa writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying India should boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo in November this year. She has also stated that Sri Lankan players should not participate in the upcoming IPL matches in Chennai in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state, forcing the IPL governing council to accede to the demand.
Moving the resolution, Jayalalithaa said the ongoing students protest was reflective of her government's initiate on the Sri Lankan issue even as she requested them to withdraw the stir and resume classes. Launching a tirade against the Centre and DMK, she alleged that both had "failed" to ensure ceasefire in 2009 when hostilities were at the peak in Sri Lanka.
She charged DMK supremo M Karunanidhi with adopting "duplicity" on the issue and said people were aware of it. Her remarks drew vociferous protests from DMK members. Speaker P Dhanapal ordered for eviction of agitated DMK members when his plea for restoration of order in the House went unheeded.
The DMK had last week pulled out of the UPA coalition, accusing the Centre of watering down a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka that was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Though India voted against Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu parties accused the government of letting down Sri Lankan Tamils by not persuading the UN to come out with stronger language against the island nation.
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 information from PTI)