Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s assertion that the State government will permit IPL matches to be held in Chennai only if the organisers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan player or staff will participate in them is certainly not a political act (“Chauvinism at its worst,” March 27). It is a humanitarian act. In fact, the Centre should have ensured that no Sri Lankan player participated in IPL. The move is not against the players or sports. It is an announcement to the international community that Tamil Nadu is sensitive to the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils.
The Indian government failed in its duty to protest against Sri Lanka whose army massacred 40,000 innocent Tamils, including women and children, during the war with the LTTE. The citizens of Tamil Nadu have no option but to protest in the manner they can at this point in time. The State government is compensating for the failure of the Centre.
Regional politics has yet again played spoilsport. The Shiv Sena ensured that Pakistani players were left out of the IPL in 2008; the Telangana agitation succeeded in shifting the venue out of Hyderabad in 2010; and now the regional parties of Tamil Nadu and the government have ensured that Sri Lankan players will be withdrawn from the IPL matches played in Chennai. That a hugely popular initiative in cricket such as the IPL, which has successfully bridged the gap among players from various nations, has time and again fallen prey to political jingoism is extremely unfortunate.
The IPL governing council, by bowing to pressure, has lost a golden opportunity to prove that sports should not be mixed up with politics. Had the organisers shifted the venue from Chennai, they would have succeeded in making a larger statement that sporting events shall no more be held hostage to regional and political chauvinism.