Chennai – Perhaps banning Pakistani Cricketers to take part in IPL under the influence Hindu militant outfits was not enough, perhaps banning Pakistan players from taking part in Indian Hockey league under the influence of Indian Intelligence agency RAW was not enough and perhaps cancelling pre-announced hockey series with under the pressure of Indian army was not enough, the Indian government, continuing with its policies of extending sports terrorism in the region, has now put a ban on participation of Sri Lankan Cricket players in Indian Premier League (IPL).
India, in the past has also been playing havoc with different mega sports events in the region by pulling out of the events at the eleventh hour or threatening to boycott the events and the South Asian Federation Games(SAF) that were hosted by Pakistan at Islamabad are a very strong example in this regard.
Top Sri Lankan players were on Tuesday withdrawn from the Chennai matches of the high-profile IPL after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa refused to host them in view of the prevailing anti-Sinhalese sentiments in the state.
Altogether 13 Sri Lankan players, two of whom are captains of their respective teams, are taking part in the sixth edition of the league which will start from April 3. Chennai, the home for Chennai Super Kings, will stage 10 matches in all, including two eliminators, and will continue to remain a venue.
"The IPL Governing Council met this afternoon to discuss the issue. The security of all involved in the IPL, whether players, spectators or those working in the stadiums, is of paramount importance to the BCCI. The Governing Council decided that Sri Lankan players will not participate in the Pepsi IPL 2013 League matches in Chennai and will advise the nine franchises accordingly", IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla said in statement.
Shukla said that the Governing Council took the decision after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister stating that she would not permit the Sri Lankan players in Chennai. "This is with reference to news reports last week that the government of Sri Lanka has issued a travel advisory that its citizens should exercise caution when travelling to Tamil Nadu", the statement said.
Shukla said the Governing Council had to take the local sentiments and the safety and security of Sri Lankan players into account before taking a final decision. "We had to take two things into account. We have to take the local sentiments into account and at same time the safety and security of the Sri Lankan players are paramount," he said.
"If the local administration has given something we have to listen to that as ultimately we need the help of the state authorities to hold the tournament like security arrangement. We can't ignore the advice from the local administration," he said.
In the letter to the Prime Minister, Jayalalithaa said BCCI may be advised by the Centre to prevail upon the IPL Organizers not to allow Sri Lankan players, officials, umpires and support staff to take part in the tournament in the state. "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.
"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," she said. On the other side, the ‘innocent’ Ambassador of Sri Lanka to India Mr. Prasad Kariyawasam, who appreas to be having no knowledge of Indian’s sports terrorism policies, on Tuesday expressed his utter dismay and surprise over the issue saying that the mixing of politics and sports was "very unfortunate".
"We are concerned about mixing of politics and sports: now that is something very unfortunate. It should not happen in our region. Our concern is with regard to Sri Lankans visiting India including sportspersons and their security. Our cricketers are precious and their security is most important," Kariyawasam told Indian media.
Barring Kings XI Punjab, all the other franchises have at least one or more Sri Lankan players in their squad.
Sri Lankans in the IPL:
CSK: Akila Dananjaya and N Kulasekara
Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene (captain) and Jeevan Mendis.
Knight Riders: Sachithra Senanayake.
Mumbai Indians: Lasith Malinga.
Pune Warriors India: Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews.
Rajasthan Royals: Kusal Janith Perera.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Muthaiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera.