Pro-Eelam students put IPL on notice
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the next target of pro-Eelam protesters, who have demanded that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should not permit Sri Lankan players from taking part in the tournament.
The ‘Students’ Federation for Free Eelam,’ which is in the forefront of ongoing protests in Tamil Nadu in support of Eelam, has warned that it would not let any IPL match to be played in Chennai where Lankan players are part of any of the teams.
Student groups have taken up 'Boycott Sri Lanka' campaign to protest against Colombo's racial discrimination
“Sri Lankan players should not enter the field even as a substitute. It is our demand,” said V Prabhakaran, a student leader.
Prabhakaran said the IPL teams should take the warning of students seriously and respect the feelings of Tamils. “We will stop the matches if our demand is not met. Students have made several sacrifices to carry forward this struggle. IPL teams should not underestimate our strength,” he said.
Pro-Eelam supporters have been conducting a ‘Boycott Sri Lankan Cricket’ campaign for last couple of years, but this is the first time the campaign has received mass support.
The students’ outfit that has given the call for boycott of Sri Lankan players has demonstrated its strength in the recent state-wide protests on the Eelam issue that finally forced the DMK to withdraw its support to the UPA government.
MDMK leader Vaiko has also declared that his party will protest against participation of Sri Lankan players in IPL. Addressing a pro-Eelam rally in Mumbai Wednesday, he said his party would protest wherever the Lankan cricketers played in India.
In Facebook, special pages have been started in support of the campaign.
A lawyer from Coimbatore, R Kalaiarasu, who has initiated an online petition campaign for the same cause, said he planned to submit the petition to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
“The Chief Minister refused to host the Asian Athletics Championship in Chennai stating that the participation of Sri Lankan athletes would hurt the feelings of Tamils.
“By the same logic, IPL matches should not be allowed to be held in Chennai if Lankan cricketers are part of it,” said Kalaiarasu.
To those who argue that cricket and politics should not be mixed, he cites South African leader Dr. Desmond Tutu’s speech in 2008 at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Tutu had praised international community’s boycott of South Africa in all sporting activities, when the country was practicing apartheid.
“We know that politics and sport have an important relationship. We indicated that the sports boycott played a crucial part in our liberation, and now sport is playing a pivotal part in helping to build South Africa up to be the rainbow nation,” he had said.
Kalaiarasu said the genocidal and racist regime of Sri Lanka deserved the same treatment.
Following are the 13 Sri Lankan players who are scheduled to play in the current season of IPL:
A promotional banner for 'Boycott Sri Lanka' campaign
Nuwan Kulasekara, Akila Dananjaya (Chennai Super Kings)
Thisara Perara, Kumar Sangakkara (Sun Risers Hyderabad)
Mahela Jayawardene, Jeevan Mendis (Delhi Daredevils)
Sachithra Senanayake (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians)
Angelo Matthews, Ajantha Mendis (Pune Warriors India)
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Muttaiah Muralitharan (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Kushal Perera (Rajasthan Royals)
The first match in Chennai is scheduled be held on April 6 between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. - TWL Bureau
An unfolding movement for Eelam in pictures