Sri Lanka nationalists call cricketers to boycott IPL

Colombo, March 28 : Sri Lanka's nationalist parties here Thursday appealed to the country's cricketers to boycott playing in India during the Indian Premier League (IPL) as tension simmered between Colombo and Chennai.

Representatives of the National Buddhist Council and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), which is part of the ruling coalition, handed over a petition to Sri Lanka's cricket governing body appealing for the boycott, reports Xinhua.

"Politicians in Tamil Nadu have banned Sri Lankan cricketers from travelling there to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL). We value our players and if they are injured then that would be a huge loss to our country. Therefore, we are asking our players not to endanger their lives in travelling to India. We are asking them to think of their safety and dignity rather than the money they can earn," National Buddhist Council chairman Rajawatte Wappa Thero told media during the petition-handover.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Wednesday banned cricketers playing in the IPL to participate in matches staged in Tamil Nadu but made no decisions regarding the lucrative tournament as a whole.

The decision was taken based on advice from Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry as well as recent media reports of attacks on Sri Lankans travelling to Tamil Nadu, the statement said.

Sri Lanka Cricket had earlier consulted with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on players' safety.

In response, the BCCI Tuesday decided that the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 matches in Chennai will not feature any Sri Lankan cricketers or match officials.

The call was motivated by growing political tensions, stemming from the treatment of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. Over the weekend, two Buddhist monks were attacked in Tamil Nadu along with 16 tourists amid heightened tension with Colombo.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, insisted that the appearance of Sri Lankan cricketers in Chennai would escalate already "surcharged" tensions and called them not to be allowed into the state.

--IANS (Posted on 28-03-2013)

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