Chennai, March 26 (IANS) Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches only if the organisers promise that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff will participate, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday.
Jayalalithaa said in a letter to the prime minister: “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.”
Jayalalithaa said the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) may be advised by the central government to prevail upon Indian Premier League organisers to not allow any Sri Lankans to take part in the tournament in Tamil Nadu.
“The government of Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu, only if the organisers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff would participate in these matches,” Jayalalithaa said.
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.
Citing human rights abuses by Colombo, Jayalalithaa had said last month that Tamil Nadu would not host the 20th Asian Athletics Championship in July in which Sri Lanka will take part.
“The state will not conduct the championship and it cannot be held in Tamil Nadu. The general secretary of the Asian Athletics Association will be asked by the state to hold the event somewhere else,” she said.
Jayalalithaa said the state government had written to the Singapore-based Asian Athletics Association urging that the participation of athletes from Sri Lanka would hurt the sentiments of Tamils.
Jayalalithaa has also opposed the training of Sri Lankan military personnel in India and sent back a Sri Lankan football team that had come to Tamil Nadu to play friendly matches.