Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written to the Prime Minister stating categorically that the 13 Sri Lankan cricketers in the Indian Premier League will not be allowed to play matches held in Chennai.
She has said in her letter that with emotions in her state running high over the Sri Lanka issue, it would be unadvisable for the Lankan players, umpires and other officials to visit Tamil Nadu. “In such a hostile and tense environment, we apprehend that the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people,” the letter says.Reacting to the letter, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the Prime Minister is currently out of the country. “He will read Jayalalithaa’s letter and then decide,” Mr Tewari said.
The Sri Lankan cricket board has said they have advised their players and their government. “We won’t tell them don’t go for the IPL but we did inform them about the situation right now and it’s for them to take a decision,” said Ajith Jayasekara, outgoing CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket. The sixth edition of the IPL is scheduled to be held from April 3 and will be played in different locations in the country over 45 days. 10 matches are to be played in Chennai. Ms Jayalalithaa has noted in her letter that all the IPL teams had Sri Lankan players on them.
Yesterday, the chief minister had written to the Prime Minister, warning that if a Commonwealth meeting was held Sri Lanka in November, it would not only “embolden the Sri Lankan regime but also incense public opinion and sentiment in Tamil Nadu on this very sensitive issue even further.” And if the venue was not changed, she said, India should boycott it. All major parties in Tamil Nadu, including the DMK and Ms Jayalalithaa’s ruling AIADMK, have been asking the Centre to take a strong stand against Sri Lanka’s “genocide” of its ethnic Tamils in the final few months of the civil war that ended when defence forces vanquished the separatist Tamil Tigers in May 2009.
The issue is so central in Tamil Nadu politics that last week, the DMK pulled out of the Prime Minister’s coalition, accusing India of watering down a UN resolution that was adopted last week, recommending that Sri Lanka credibly investigate alleged war crimes. India voted against Sri Lanka, but the DMK and the AIADMK said it had let down Sri Lankan Tamils by failing to persuade the UN to use stronger language against the island nation and by not pushing for an independent rather than an internal inquiry.
List of Sri Lankan players in the IPL:
•Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dhananjaya (Chennai Super Kings)
•Jeevan Mendis and Mahela Jayawardene (Delhi Daredevils)
•Sachithra Senanayake (Kolkata Knight Riders)
•Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians)
•Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews (Pune Warriors)
•Kushal Janith Perera (Rajasthan Royals)
•Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan (Royal Challengers)
•Kumar Sangakarra and Thisara Perera (Sunrisers Hyderabad)